Saturday, December 26, 2009
Who is ready to exercise? I don't know about you but I'm am so full right now that I think I just might bust a gut! I think that's how it's said. Anyways, after the Christmas cookies, the berry and apple pies, the turkey, the potatoes, the green bean casserole and everything else that completes the perfect holiday meal, I'm gunna blow up!!!
Of course I ate fudge this morning for breakfast that my friend Natalie made. It was so good, I had to have two pieces! I tried to be good around lunch time but I nibbled on a bag of chocolate macadamia nut candies then ate a big bowl of Deluxe Vegetarian Chili from Simple Simon's. For dinner...well let's just leave that alone for now but it did involve delicious Mexican Food and a Cadillac Margarita!
It is almost New Year's Day I know and that means it's time for resolutions, promises to my self and a chance for new beginnings! Well...depending on what I am going to resolve to do or promise or begin, will depend on how I feel after my stomach isn't so full any more. Isn't that what most of us do? We eat so much, get really, really full and resolve to go on a diet, to walk more, to exercise more or whatever it is we say we wanna to do cause we feel so bad about eating so much. It would be great if we all followed through...wouldn't it?
My resolution for 2010 is a work in progress but does involve a more healthier and better me! I love walking so I am sure more and longer walks are part of the plan. I love hiking here in Oregon so adding that on a more regular basis is a good idea too! Then there is my "things to do" list that I would like to see myself complete in 2010 as well. A few little repairs for Ray and I to work on like tackling our bathroom and replacing the shower and maybe even a little kitchen remodel too. However, there is still more to see and do here in Oregon that we hope to take the little trips we enjoy taking whenever we can get away.
Hope you get to fulfill your resolutions and promises in 2010! Hope you get to enjoy a walk or a hike every now and then. Hope you get to do those little jobs that need doing but most of all...we hope we get to see you in Oregon in 2010!
Monday, December 21, 2009
I'm not sure where to begin! This year has been fun, exasperating, exciting, full of surprises and most of all...quite perfect!
It's been a year and a half since we opened our inn and two years since we moved to Oregon! I think I can honestly say..."I Am Oregonian!" Yeah...I'm pretty sure it's legal, kosher or whatever but I feel Oregonian therefore, I am!
I've tasted my way through most of Oregon. I've hiked many miles of trails in Oregon and I've driven North, South and almost everywhere in between. I have experienced the "best" brew in the world as we have made the brewery rounds and I have sipped the best of the best Willamette Valley reds! I have visited the coast and the cascades. I have roasted hot dogs on the beach over a fire built in to the sand. I have tasted the best cheese in Oregon and even visited the Spruce Goose a few times this year! I have acted as tour guide, wine connoisseur, chef, baker and candle stick maker! Well...I haven't actually made any candles but I have learned so much about using locally grown food and what sustainability truly means, that I can prepare an entire feast after visiting my farmer's market on a Saturday!
We have learned how to drive a little slower and enjoy the countryside. We have learned that it's ok to skip the gym now and then so we can go for a walk by the river instead. We learned that it's ok to take a side road only to discover the best apples we have ever tasted and get a whole bag for only 60 cents! We have been on farm tours where we have pet miniature donkeys, been kissed by a llama and rubbed the noses of sheep and horses. We have been to Hazelnut Hill, almost every McMenimens in Oregon, distillery tasting in Portland and experienced most of what our guests come here to experience...all that is Oregon!
We have hosted guests all year and again as last year, we are amazed! Strangers enter our inn and leave as friends. Sometimes we feel like we have known them all our lives so it's hard to say good-bye. Enjoying being innkeepers and loving everything about cooking and entertaining, we are truly loving sharing Oregon with others. I recently told someone that I am afraid that I don't have time to do all that I want to do here. We still haven't eaten at "all" the restaurants in Portland (my personal goal)! We still haven't visited eastern Oregon and Crater Lake and there are a ton of side roads I haven't been down yet! I'm predicting a busier 2010 for our inn and for us!
Now it's time for our family! Our oldest daughter Sandy married John on December 11th. Sweet, simple and the most perfect wedding! They will be adopting Justin and Kaelynne early next year so even though we have been "grandparents" for years now, it will be official soon. And of course, that means a trip to SoCal, a court date and one huge partay!!!
Sherry has been with the Riverside County Sheriff's Dept. now for over two years. She loves her job, loves life and loves her mommy and daddy so much. She is quite the angel and as always, has us wrapped around her finger.
Steven is my baby. He's 20 and will always be my baby! He is working hard in Downey and learning how to weld and build stuff (don't ask me details). All I know is, we are proud of him for working so hard, living on his own now and he still loves to hug his mama and enjoys being with us as much as possible!
So, what will 2010 bring for us?...I will be working on my book, "Naked In The Basement," cooking my heart out and as for Ray...well...he will still be in charge of neighborhood watch every afternoon and late evening as he enjoys his cigar and Oregon Brandy or Hogs Head Whiskey on our front porch. Life is good!
So, thank you to all our friends in Albany that have made us feel "at home" in Oregon. And thank you to all the folks out there that have the same goal we do...loving, living and sharing all that is authentically Oregon! Merry Christmas and a very, very Happy New Year from Ray and Debbie and The Pfeiffer Cottage Inn!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Have I mentioned that I love Oregon. Have I told you all how much we love everything about living here??? I remember coming to Oregon as a kid with my parents and loving it then. Traveling through with my husband and kids later, gave us a chance to get to know Oregon even better. Now I get to live here...and I love it more every season!
There is nothing that warms a heart more than seeing a family excited about picking out their Christmas tree. I remembered as I watched how much my kids loved doing this. They loved the anticipation of picking out the "perfect" tree. Then of course getting it home was another thing. Tied to the top of our car, shoved into the back of our van or having a problem seeing out my car windows cause there was a branch poking me as I drove. However it was done...we got our tree and brought it home!
Our kids are grown and picking out their own trees this year and we are so far away from them that we don't get to experience that with them like we used to. But...we get to see them in a few days. We got home from our daughter's wedding on Monday and I have since unpacked, did several loads of laundry, re-packed our bags, made tons of Christmas cookies, had drinks with friends, went to meetings, shopped and we have the lovely pleasure of dining with dear friends tonight as well!
Saturday there is so much going on in this little town that I can't keep track. Breakfast with Santa at the Venetian, "A Tuna Christmas" play at ACT, Christmas Caroling on the Horse Drawn Wagon, "It's A Wonderful Life" is playing at the PIX at 2:30. Ray is bell ringing for the Salvation Army while I clean house then we get to play!
Our friend and massage therapist Ann is being treated by moi to a special dinner at Sybaris then off to the play. We are looking forward to getting to treat her a bit as she gives the "best" massages and deserves a lovely evening on the town!
So, whatever you have planned this weekend, don't forget to make those memories with your kids, your grandkids and even for yourself! Enjoy picking out that perfect tree and have a most wonderful Christmassy weekend!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
"Loaded Baked Potato Soup"
1 tablespoon butter
4 or 5 medium baking potatoes, diced
4 cups broth (use chicken or vegetable broth)
bacon (I use turkey bacon)
1 medium onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
Melt butter, cook onion till soft, add potatoes and broth. Cover and cook until potatoes are soft but still firm, about 20 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in heavy cream, ladle into bowls, top with sour cream, bacon and chives.
This is definitely not a low fat/low calorie soup but after a long hard day at work...well let's just say...it will make you feel so good! I remember when I was in nursing school, I came home after Ray had prepared a soup like this one for dinner. I scooped out a big bowl and sat there and cried while I ate it. Being a mom is hard work, working is hard work, going to school and being a mom is hard work so ladies...sometimes we just need a really good bowl of yummy soup and we feel all better! Enjoy!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
This is probably one of my most favorite pictures. I took it last December after we received snow in the Willamette Valley. This garden angel has her hands on her head like she is trying to brush the powder off. Well, she sits in the same position all the time so it's not an apparition or miracle of sorts or anything like that, it's just my garden angel in the snow!
Almost one year ago, our region of the country experienced some of the most horrendous weather that had been seen in years. Some hwy's and roads were closed, I 5 was icy, snowy and barely being plowed. Portland turned into a virtual snow wonderland and of course we were right in the thick of it all. Trips to and from the airport took Ray to Portland 6 times in 10 days. That won't be happening this year!
We are literally on our way back to Oregon as I type this blog. We attended our oldest daughter's wedding last night and yes...it was beautiful and simple and perfect! We will be in Ashland tomorrow night staying again at the Ashland Springs Hotel. Loved it last week so we are staying again. We hear the roads tomorrow over the passes are going to be bad and Ray says I will be freaking out. I don't think I'll freak out but who knows...maybe I will just for the fun of it.
We get to be home at our inn for 7 whole days before we head out again. And yes...we are heading back to SoCal. When our youngest daughter called a few months ago and said, "mommy...I only get a few days off work so I can't come up this Christmas. Can you guys come here?" Ray and I had our flights booked, our hotels reserved and rental car held for us all within a few hours.
Haven't missed a Christmas with our babies and hope we never will. We will spend Christmas eve with Sandy and her new husband, John and Justin and Kaelynne, our grandchildren. Sherry our 22 year old sweet baby girl and Correctional Officer and Steven our 20 year old baby boy will join us Christmas eve and Christmas Day. I'm probably gunna hear it from the kids but they will always be my babies and we are looking forward to trekking back to SoCal to spend Christmas with them.
So, what will we do the week we are home in Albany? Hmmm...dinner with friends at Sybaris, the movies to see Jim Carey in A Christmas Carol (I think that's what it's called), riding the trolley around town enjoying all the lights, seeing "It's A Wonderful Life" at the Pix Theater downtown and just trying to read as much as possible! I'm working on "Angels At Christmas" by Debbie Macomber right now. Too busy lately to read and I fall asleep every night trying but when I get home...let's just say there's a huge cozy chair and blankie waiting for me.
Stay warm, well fed and cozy up with your favorite read and check back every once in a while. I'll be blogging my Christmas letter soon. I gotta get inspired you know! Maybe after tomorrow. I'll be on my knees thanking God for letting us survive I 5...who knows!?!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Have you ever been to an Oregon wedding?...me neither but I have been told by many of our guests that they are quite memorable especially if they are taking place in a hazelnut orchard!
Yes, the Willamette Valley is not only know around the world for it's luscious Pinot Noir, it is also known for its hazelnuts. Formerly called filberts, hazelnuts are grown in the form of orchards and have become quite the rage around these parts. Known for their high quality and firmness, the hazelnut holds up well in baked goods, are yummy chopped up and added to my morning oatmeal or just as a hand full as a healthy high protein snack. I am sure there are many more uses and geez how could I forget...it's used in spreads like Nutella too. So, it seems that not only are these tasty morsels good to eat, where they grow seems to be among some of the most favorite places to get hitched in Oregon!
Some of you may already know that I am one of three bloggers that write for our Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild blog. If you are interested in one more blog to read, check out www.obbg.org and when you get there, click on "visit our blog." My latest blog was titled, "The Romance, The Glamour and An Oregon Wedding." Oregon seems to be thee place to say "I do" and there are so many venues to chose from that you can have that dream wedding with all the romance and rugged glamour that Oregon can dish out. Aside the banks of a wild river, a calm stream, behind or front of a waterfall, inside a historic ballroom, inside an awesome inn, amongst the hazelnut trees in an orchard, in the rows of wine grapes or just inside a sweet village church, wherever you choose make your vows a lifetime commitment, choose Oregon!
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of taking a few folks from the Albany Visitor's Association on a "Farm Tour." Ray and I attended the Favorite 5 Country Farm Tour last spring and I was excited to learn that there is a "holiday" version of the tour this month. So, we loaded up the car and drove to Wilsonville for our "holiday farm tour!"
At the first farm, we met the sweetest miniature donkeys. We learned that they are like watch dogs and very interested in visitors. They also love attention and a good rubbing as well. We also learned that if you let a llama sniff your face, they probably won't spit at you. Yeah...I'm glad that really worked. There is just something about sweet farm animals that make you feel like a kid again and something about touring a small farm that makes you appreciate the simple sweet things in life.
Touring the second farm, I was hit with a sense of a "how cool is this" feeling when I saw a family picking out their Christmas Tree. The farm owner walked over and cut down a huge tree with his chain saw, tied it to the trailer on his tractor and proceeded to haul it towards us. Watching this whole scenario, I thought, "wow...so this is how we roll in Oregon!" New "slogan?", new "catch phrase," who knows but it's mine! At that very moment I truly understood what it means to say, "I Am Oregonian!"
I live here! I experience all that is rugged, all that is so cool and all that is truly Oregon every day! I reach out and touch the soil that is so fertile that all you have to do is sit back and be amazed at what grows out of it. I hike the trails that others can only dream about, I drink the wine from the grapes that most can only aspire to and I drink the beer that is made from hops that grow only a few miles from my home. I live in a place where it's ok to describe it as rugged and glamorous in the same sentence, where it's ok to think that riding horseback through wine country is romantic and where visitors don't want to leave. I live here...in Oregon!
"I Am Oregonian...and that's how I roll!"
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Unless you were in my kitchen last night, you have no idea how good it smelled! I started baking around 4pm and finally finished for the day about 10:30pm. I stopped for an hour and had a massage but other than that, I baked my heart out!
We are getting ready for our boutique on Saturday and we have sent out, hand delivered or mailed almost 200 fliers. Wow! I'm so excited that I might just eat a cookie or two. Well, I'm trying to be good but when you have Christmas Cherry Blondie Bars, English Toffee Bars, Snickerdoodles and Peanut Butter Blossoms staring at you saying, "eat me...you know you wanna," it's really hard. So, I may have just one. You know for quality control of course. Gotta make sure those Christmas Cherry Blondie Bars are fit to eat!
More baking today. Cherry Almond Scones and pumpkin pie for our guests. The big Civil War Game is in Eugene but our guests will sleep over here tonight so they don't have to drive back to Portland till tomorrow. Go Beavs!!!!! Sorry Ducks...but get back in the freezer or on my dinner plate where you belong!
Besides all my homemade goodies for Saturday, Jessica from Rocket Queen Cupcakes will be selling her homemade mini cupcakes too. We will have a plethora of lovely vintage finds and a ton of yummy Christmas treats too! We are hoping that if you come by, you will take a minute to sit in our dining room, enjoy my homemade wassail along with a scone or cupcake and enjoy Andrea Bocelli as his voice lulls you in to the Christmas spirit.
Bring a friend, enjoy our inn and boutique and we hope you get time to sit and enjoy the season!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
So, I have made our guest a lovely breakfast of oatmeal, cranberries, walnuts, brown sugar and warm milk. She has checked out and is long gone and I still sit to ponder my day! Well, actually I have already cleaned the guest room and bath and trying to find more things to do so I don't have to finish what I started yesterday afternoon.
You have read my blogs, you know how much I love autumn and you have seen my pics of leaves on our beautiful trees here in Oregon. Well...now those leaves are covering our garden! I filled up two green waste bins yesterday and I still have three huge piles of leaves to go. But, I don't want to go outside! I'm feeling a little lazy and have a deep desire to stay warm today.
My inspiration to get my sweet self moving on my chores outdoors just came in the form of our forecast on the Today show. No rain in our future but friggin' freezin' weather is comin' our way! No quotation so you know it's not verbatim. It's just me and my lingo explaining my version of the unbearable cold weather that will soon be upon us.
Now, having said that, I do look forward to the colder winter weather but I just don't want to be "out" in it unless I'm on my way for a coffee at Boccherini's or driving around the Monteith District checking out the gorgeous Christmas lights that are on the vintage homes. Today starts our "Christmas Nighttime Magic" in Albany. Being a part of the four historic districts in our town, affords us the luxury of enjoying Christmas the old fashioned way! Bundle up and stroll down tree lined, lit and absolutely breathtaking streets where nearly every historic home has outlined it's features with white lights. Yes...it's a requirement and one that we all take pretty darn seriously too! I swear my house is happy when it's all decked out for the holidays.
If you are around Albany this season, please don't miss the lights, the beauty of the season and the sweetness that our downtown has to offer over the holidays!
Now I gotta get outside!