Sunday, November 29, 2009
Pioneer Square in Portland a few days before Thanksgiving and the lights weren't on!
This Saturday, December 5th, downtown Albany will celebrate the holidays by hosting the annual "Twice Around Parade" and the "Community Tree Lighting" ceremony! We feel lucky that these two events were postponed this year by one week. We finally get to see all the festivities. Last year, the Civil War game was held on the same day as these two other events and needless to say, football won!
So, this Saturday is really only the precursor to the really big show on Sunday, December 13th. The Christmas Parlor Tour is an annual event that draws hundreds to downtown Albany every Christmas season. Vintage homes and downtown buildings are all decked out for the holidays and open up doors to some of Albany's most gorgeous digs! Dressed up in vintage attire or Christmas of the modern era, just being able to tour these homes is an honor. Ride the horse drawn carriage or the vintage trolly to each of the homes and make a day of it!
So, for a little pre-show of sorts, visit our inn on Saturday, December 5th for an "inn" tour, cookies, scones, wassail and a blissful parlor boutique. After your done at the inn, drive over to Vintage Roost where Debbie Williams opens her cottage to tempt you to enjoy her hand fashioned goodies, antiques and baked goods, then join in Albany's "Twice Around Parade" followed by "our" community tree lighting ceremony!
A little mug of hot chocolate, a latte' or cup of tea, good friends and family all gathered to celebrate the season! How sweet is that!!?
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I wanted to write a little blog tonight about what I am thankful for. However, when we were walking back to our hotel in Redding, CA from Costco tonight with Ray holding a 1/2 gallon size jug of whiskey or bourbon or whatever it was, I had to laugh. At that very moment that I laughed out loud, I realized how much I really love my man and how so very thankful that he is my husband!
He watches out for me. He makes sure when we are out for a walk, that we are safe. He watches the cars around us and tries to predict what they are going to do so we may cross the street safely. He puts his arm out in front of me if he thinks its not safe to cross. He supports me in any and all my crazy endeavors. He always has! He supported me when I went back to college to get my nursing degree knowing it would be a lot more work for him too. He worked over-time to help us get the things we needed for our family. He climbed his career ladder throughout his 30 years with the Corona Fire Department so he could make himself and me proud. He has always made sure that I had everything I needed and things I really didn't need just because he loves me. He is my companion, my best friend, my walking partner, my tour guide when we are in Portland, sometimes he has even been my tour guide in life! He is my guardian angel, my common sense when I haven't been thinking straight, my rock and even my comedian when I need to laugh.
But most of all...he has always loved "me!" And for that...I am thankful!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Yeah I love to walk. I walk to the gym, I walk from the gym, I walk around town, I walk downtown and I even walk up and down the stairs in my inn so many times a day you would think I weigh 90 lbs. Well...no, cause I seem to make up for the calories I exercise off cause of my other loves.
I really like a very cold light beer. By light beer, I don't mean the store bought, manufactured light beer. I love local brewery light beer! I will drink a cold beer over a glass of wine any day or night. And I really like a good glass of Oregon Pinot Noir too but there is just something about an almost icy cold glass of beer that quenches my thirst and being the light-weight I am, it gets me just relaxed enough to feel that cozy, "could you cover me up with a blankie please" kind of feeling.
And the other reason why I don't weight 90 lbs. is because of baking! I love baking! I love everything about baking! I love the feel of the flour between my fingers as I sprinkle it on the marble just before rolling out my pate brise for pie, I love the way the baking sugar sparkles so finely as it mixes with the butter and looks so creamy and oh my gosh...the butter! The butter! That's really all I can say about the butter. Butter speaks for itself and is probably the most important ingredient in really good baking. I even painted my kitchen once with "creamy butter." It was a very yummy color!
And as for the "reading" part in the title of my blog...well...I love to read! I love to read cookbooks, I love reading anything Debbie Macomber has written and I have even started my very own book club. We have had two meetings so far and it has been very successful and has turned in to a dinner/book club. I made a meal from The Art of French Cooking for our first meeting. Then Maura hosted our second meeting and it became a pot luck of sorts that included three soups, salads, homemade breads, wine and desserts. Lovely women, really good food and time to talk about what we love to read! We meet again in early January and I can hardly wait!
Feeling pretty thankful about now that I have the opportunity to do the things I love to do. Sharing our lives with our friends, our family and our guests makes this innkeeping gig pretty sweet!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Running around like a chicken with no head! Well, that's disgusting isn't it? Funny how some of us remember what it's like to watch our dads butcher chickens then watch them run around before falling over. I don't think my dad could ever do that now but when your dad and grandfather were raised on a farm in Kansas during the depression, you do what you need to do to feed your families. So, my dad learned from his dad and other men in the family how to do the things that needed to be done!
My dad isn't even 70 yet and he just had back surgery and is already looking at hiking boots. He hasn't hiked in years, hasn't been able to take a simple walk around Portland with us and just ask my mom...he couldn't dance either! Well...he can dance now and he is almost ready to get back to the second love of his life...tennis! Now where was I...oh yeah, running around like a chicken with no head...
That's what it has been like here at the inn the past week. Hosting After Hours on Tuesday was a hoot! We had so much fun and the food was delish and we couldn't have planned it any better. I have to say the Rum'd Cider was probably the biggest hit and most people were so enamored by the fact that is was Rum'd. "But you can't even taste the rum!" Ummm...well...that's kind of the point wasn't it? Although Ray was in charge of that and you could smell his cup of Rum'd cider several feet away. He made his own "special" cup.
Great and wonderful friends helping in the kitchen made this evening even better than we expected and since then, we have cleaned the inn, entertained guests, made an over-night trip to Portland to Christmas shop, hauled up our four Christmas trees from the basement, decorated them yesterday, took a nap, baked and had dinner with friends last night at Clemenza's, and ate pie. Wow...can't get better than that!
So, today I have decided to RELAX!
Heading upstairs to "be a guest in my own inn" and soak in my old tub then it's cupcake jammies for the rest of day. Enjoy your Sunday and I will enjoy your piece of leftover pumpkin pie!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I remember my mother just looking at me and I could see in her eyes the unbelievable look, the silent stare, the "what the heck is your problem" words just at the edge of spilling out of her mouth and finally the realization for her, that I just wasn't born with the talent for sewing.
Thank God she finally realized that cause I just don't think we could have survived another moment of me trying to learn something that I could never get. Okay...so what's wrong with me? Aren't women like me supposed to love sewing, knitting, crocheting or whatever it is that crafty women do? I couldn't do it, I didn't enjoy it and in fact I think I really hated it!
So, what does a woman who thinks she is crafty and is absolutely in love with textiles do when she can't even sew?...well, she finds cute friends and hides them in her basement and works them night and day sewing sweet Christmas pillows, stockings and whatever else she desires! Not really. Except that I do have a cute friend using our shop/wine storage area to sew her heart away for our "Parlor Boutique" coming up on December 5th.
Patty is probably the most talented seamstress I know and ever since I met her over 4 years ago, I have been in awe of her talent! (she's probably going to read this and come find me and give me a hug!) I really have! She is really in to the "cottage" style of decorating and when choosing her materials, the "sweet artist" in her comes out as does her pallet of soft greens, vintage hues and whites. And...you all will get to benefit from her talents when you visit our boutique.
We are working hard to provide the guests to our first ever boutique sale with a plethora of lovely gifts. Vintage Chintz, linens, pillows, lamps, cottage frames, painted tables, antique furniture and of course cookies, cakes, scones and tea!
So, we hope you come by to meet us and have a Christmas cookie or two and enjoy our sale and The Pfeiffer Cottage Inn.
Monday, November 16, 2009
We are hosting After Hours tomorrow night! Oh my gosh...I'm nervous but kind of excited. Expecting about 80 community business chamber members, we have all kinds of lovely yummies planned.
- hot rum'd cider
- fritata with basil, egg and herbs
- baked cherry french toast
- spiral baked honey ham
- lemon curd and pumpkin butter
- sherry, nut and brown sugar baked brie
- crepes filled with nutella, warm berries and fresh whip cream
- sugar cookies
Hope you can stop by and check out our inn tomorrow night. After Hours starts at 5:15pm and we have three prizes to give away. One of them involves an overnighter, Moonstruck Chocolates and sparkling wine!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Beer and Cheese Soup
1 bunch green onions
3 T olive oil
3/4 c. bottled roasted red sweet peppers, drained
3/4 c. pale lager
2 c. refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes
2 c. milk
8 oz. shredded American or cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Well, I actually entered the above even before I tasted the soup and now...well...oh my gosh, it's so good!
Here's what you do next:
1. slice green onions and cook in olive oil until tender
2. in a blender, combine red peppers, cooked onion, beer, and 1 c. potatoes. Process till smooth and return to pot and bring to boil, reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 5 min.
3. Add milk and cheese to pan. Cook and stir over med heat until cheese is melted and soup is hot (do not boil).
4. In a skillet, cook remaining potatoes in remaining hot oil over med-high heat, 8 min. or until golden.
5. Top each bowl of soup with potatoes and season with salt and pepper.
I love soup in the fall and winter and I especially love soup that is easy to make. Enjoy and let me know if you make it and how you liked it!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Since we have moved to Oregon, I have searched out every Trader Joe's I could find. I even called and emailed the main office to ask when I could expect to see one near me. They pretty much told me that before anyone in Oregon would see another Joe's, two more would have to open in Portland. Well, Portland finally has their hand full of Trader Joe's markets...it's our turn now!
No more driving to Eugene just to go to Joe's and no more loading our car down with goodies such as Lemon Curd, Tomato Red Pepper Soup, smoked gouda, wine and Christmas goodies when we are in Portland because this spring, I will get my own Trader Joe's! Well...I have to share it with 100,000 of my near and dearest but what the heck.
Only a few little hints of Christmas inside the shops in Eugene yesterday but no hiding from the huge Oregon Christmas trees in the Oakway Center. I swear I was just in Eugene a few weeks ago and they were decorating the center with pumpkins. No more fighting it...just have to accept it...the Christmas holiday is fast approaching!
Albany has already been celebrating Christmas by hosting their "unwrapping" last week. Other shops open today to offer their specialty holiday items and even more open next weekend. My favorite of course is Vintage Roost. Debbie Williams opens her little cottage on her property in North Albany several times a year but Christmas is always special. Homemade goodies such as cakes, cookies, pies and lovely finds such as folk art Santa's, hand fashioned snow families, knitted scarves, a few little jewels, antique dishes and art. There's always something special to be found at Vintage Roost!
Anticipation, heart pounding joy, excitement and just plain Christmas spirit...whatever you feel, whatever you wanna call it, just face it and accept that Christmas is right around the corner.
See you in the shops and around the tree!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
We will be spending Veteran's Day again this year watching the largest Veteran's Day parade this side of the Mississippi from our front porch! This picture is a tank that drove by our inn last year. Out of place maybe but profound in that something so out of place can send such a profound message.
Thank you to all the vets that have served our country at home and abroad. Thank you for your time, your service and your dedication. Thank you families of these service men and women for sharing your loved ones so they may help others, keep our nation free and make the ultimate sacrifices so we may enjoy living safely in America!
God Bless you veterans of wars and God Bless the United States of America!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
I recently had an epiphany! Doesn't happen too often but I when it does, it can really explain a lot about who you are, what you like and what makes you happy. And for me...old houses make me very happy!
I was telling someone the other day that when I was a young teen-ager, my family was visiting friends in Ferndale, CA. We spent the day near there in the town of Eureka. Driving to lunch at a fish house which of course I detested, I noticed a gorgeous big old house perched up on a small rise a ways off the main road. I remember that I must have stared at that old house for as long as it was in my sight. Something about it looked familiar, like I had been there before or seen it somewhere else. It was driving me crazy and I couldn't wait to get through my lunch of boulibase, (ick!) and go back to Ferndale to grab my history book. For some reason I thought that my book might explain why that house had made an impression on me.
Hours later, I finally had a chance to look at my history book and there it was. A few chapters in and I saw the house. There it was in "my" school history book. It all it's massive glory, it stood perched on the same rise I had seen with my own eye. Now I knew why it had struck me. I had seen it before!
Now back to my epiphany! I realized that I must have fallen in love with old houses at a very young age. I can look back and see that many of my childhood memories revolve around houses of relatives, friends, etc. But, the old ones stick out the most.
Now I live in the historic Monteith District in a town in Oregon where I am surrounded by nothing but old homes. I can walk several blocks before I run out of these gorgeous homes and buildings. Boasting the most in number, over 700 historic homes and buildings in my town with the most varied in the entire state as well...I am living in historic home heaven!
101 years old and counting, our 1908 Craftsman Bungalow is over 5,000 sq. ft. of vintage bliss!!! Original fir and white oak floors, built ins, coffered ceilings, room after room of spacious and comfortable living with inviting clean lines so common for this style of home. Feeling blessed, proud and enjoying sharing everything about our historic home is not an uncommon trait for most historic homeowners in Albany. This is exactly why we are so excited and willing to share our homes with others wanting to take a peek inside.
Mark December 13th on your calendar and plan your trip to Albany for the Christmas Parlor Tour! Walk, ride the trolly or ride the horse-drawn carriage around historic Albany as you tour many homes decorated for the holidays. Majestic and spectacular aren't enough to describe just how some of our homes here look at Christmas. Lit with boughs of natural greens, red bows and heaven sent natural beauty, take a walk inside and see how Christmas might have been 100 years ago. Experience styles such as the Queen Anne's, Italianate's, Craftsman's, along with many others as they are all decked out, dressed up and ready to show off their gorgeousness at Christmastime!
Two bed and breakfasts in Albany offer a total of four guest rooms to give you that chance to "stay" overnight in a historic home. The Pfeiffer Cottage Inn and Edelweiss Manor are Albany's two historic inns providing you with an authentic historic Albany experience. Check out our website and hope to see you in December for the Christmas Parlor Tour!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Is it too early to say Merry Christmas??? For most of us...yes! However, the shops and stores here in Albany will be unveiling their Christmas windows tomorrow evening and offering holiday treats, cider, Christmas punch and those lovely little things to make our Christmas special!
Vintage charm will draw me downtown along with a few friends to see what's new...or old for Christmas decorating this year. The Golden Pear, Emma Downtown, Albany Antique Mart, Camas Creek and just about every shop will be "Unwrapping Downtown" to show off an "old fashioned" Christmas.
Tomorrow evening is actually only the beginning when it comes to Historic Albany celebrating the holidays. Their "Come Home For Christmas" campaign not only invites you to shop downtown Albany but enjoy everything that is Albany. Over this entire weekend, you can enjoy "Downtown Open House" from 5-8pm in every shop, there is a "Kids Craft Day" on November 28th and a "Downtown Twice Around Parade" on December 5th. We have never been in Albany for this parade but we have heard it is quite a sight to see and plan on joining in this year! At 4:30pm, join the parade as it travels around town and is followed by the annual lighting of our community Christmas Tree. There is a holiday concert at the Venetian Theater right afterwards.
On December 12th, "Stay Out Late Winter Walk" invites you once again to shop downtown as the shops will be open till 8pm. Enjoy downtown Christmas Carolers, Trolley Tours of our historic districts all while finishing up last minute shopping!
Plan on staying over on the 12th??? We would love to have you! You don't want to miss out on our Christmas Parlor Tour on Sunday, December 13th. Enjoy your winter holiday of shopping, touring and dining as you warm up in one of our guest rooms. Coming to the parlor tour with girlfriends??? Reserve our Sister's suite as it is the perfect "girlfriend" sleep over suite. Two large guest rooms with a private bath in a private suite, gourmet breakfast, hot coffee and all withing walkin distance to downtown Albany.
We also have a surprise coming December 5th. Watch for my upcoming blog about our special parlor boutique and parlor boutique room rates. Bring a friend, shop the inn's parlor, take an "inn" tour, enjoy Christmas cookies and Wassail!
Ok...now I'm getting excited about Christmas! Hope to see you downtown tomorrow night and happy "window" shopping!