Thursday, September 11, 2014

Still Alive…Promise!

I'm teaching full time this year! Yahoo! This also means that I'm insanely busy. I'm not sure if I'll be posting regularly here for awhile. In the meantime though, how about a little "throwback Thursday"?

Sure wish I was whizzing across that bridge on a scooter on my way to a tiny roadside "warung" to enjoy an ice cold Bintang right about now. Ahhh….paradise.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Craig and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary this past weekend. Where oh where does the time go? 

We started our anniversary celebration on Saturday (the 9th, our actual wedding date), by taking our "dogter" for a walk. We've been enjoying evening walks lately (which have included several owl sightings), but decided to get out early in the day so that we could go out for dinner later. 

Then, I ventured down to the farmer's market for awhile and when I returned, Craig and I headed down to our favorite brewery for a celebratory brew! 

We came home for a bit, then fancied ourselves up for an anniversary dinner at the Oyster Bar! For us, the Oyster Bar is one of those places that we can justify eating at just once a year, and since it is just a once a year occasion, we decided to go all out. 

Starting with…a half dozen oysters on the half shell.  

We ordered two each of three different kinds of oysters. I can't remember the name of our favorite, but it was delicious and the waitress told us that it was pretty rare to acquire them outside of Seattle. Lucky us! 

We also shared a field greens salad with a maple dressing (mmmm!) before enjoying the sorbet that came before our meal (rhubarb). 

I ordered the special (lobster mac and cheese) and Craig ordered surf and turf. The mac and cheese was delicious! I just had the rest of it for lunch today! Both meals come with roasted veggies on the side and a goat cheese and chive soufflĂ©. So yum! 

Of course, one of the main attractions of the Oyster Bar (aside from the food and the extensive wine menu), is the view. 

These gorgeous summer days equate to equally gorgeous summer sunsets. Beautiful! 

The next morning, we woke up early (ish) to go hiking! It was the perfect way to work off all of the decadent food consumed the night before. We chose Fragrance Lake as our hike of choice which is about 4 miles round trip. It's not easy, but it's definitely tamer than some of the local hikes. 

The reward at the end of the hike is a half mile loop around Fragrance Lake with several places that are ideal for stopping to enjoy lunch and a dip in the lake. 

Lexi led the way...

We enjoyed a lunch of sunflower seed butter and raspberry jam sandwiches and I took a dip in the lake,  trying to convince Lexi to actually swim (she is six years old and still refuses to take her paws off of solid ground). I never convinced her to swim, but the dip in the cool water was refreshing and was enough to give me (and Lexi) the boost we needed to head back down the trail. 

weWhen our hike was completed, we indulged in another favorite tradition, which is to drive down Chuckanut into the town of Edison to enjoy some beer and food at the Longhorn Saloon. We love it because Lexi is welcome on the patio!

 (closed eyes…tired dog?)

After our snack (including oyster shooters!), we drove to a nearby organic blueberry farm where I picked up a flat of blueberries and a pint of blueberry ice cream. 

 (Lexi made a friend)

We wrapped up our weekend with a few episodes of Game of Thrones, enjoyed with my friend Kristy who is currently working her way through the books in the series. 

To my husband: 
"You had me at hello. 7 billion people on this planet and all I need is you." 

Happy Anniversary! 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Lake Chelan Weekend

Alternate title could be: Wineries and Weddings. Last Thursday we packed up and headed over the mountains to Eastern Washington and Lake Chelan. Our Alaska friends Kristie and Dan (who lived in Bellingham until last summer) were getting married! Hooray! As often happens in my posts, there are many, many pictures! Hold tight! 

We left Bellingham early, but took our time heading to Lake Chelan since we couldn't check in to our condo until 5:00p.m. We chose to take highway 20 on the way over since it is arguably one of the prettiest drives in northwest Washington. 

Since we were taking our time, I had Craig pull off at this overlook so that we could enjoy this view of Ross lake. 

Isn't it pretty? There was a sign that explained why the lake is such a pretty emerald green color. The glaciers on the mountain erode the surrounding rocks and boulders which creates a high mineral content in the water causing the pretty color!

After about three hours of driving we reached our lunch destination of Winthrop. Normally it is quite the booming place, but this year there have been several wildfires in the area, so it seemed like tourist traffic was a little slow.

Winthrop is an adorable little Western styled town complete with saloons, posts to tie your horse up and wooden sidewalks! We stopped at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery which had delicious food and delicious beer! They had a beautiful outdoor seating area overlooking the river, but we chose to eat inside since the temperature was hovering around 90-95 degrees. 

After a leisurely lunch, we walked around town while we digested our food (and our beer). We made friends (with wooden statues) ;) and checked out some of the cute shops. 


As we approached Winthrop we could see smoke in the distance and about 30-45 minutes outside of town, we were driving through the area affected by the wildfire (which burned nearly 300,000 acres!!!). We had a close encounter with a helicopter that was dipping it's water bucket into the river that ran parallel to the road. 

We were literally that close. That picture was taken on my cellphone and I didn't use the zoom! Crazy right?? You could definitely see (and smell) the effects of the wildfires, but we weren't close enough to see any flames. Prayers to all of the families who lost their homes.

Once we arrived in Chelan, we met up with Kristie and Dan for a drink in downtown Chelan before heading to our Condo to unpack and check in. Then, we drove back into town to meet Dan and Kristie for dinner (we sort of knew time with them would be limited since they'd be busy getting ready for their wedding!). Sidenote: Our condo was located on the south shore of the lake about ten minutes out of town, hence the phrase: "driving into town".

After dinner, we strolled around Chelan and enjoyed the sunset! 

The next day (Friday) was the first of three days of doing absolutely nothing all day. We made sure to stock up on breakfast and snack provisions, so we only ever ate one meal (dinner) out per day while in Chelan. It was a great way to save a little cash!

We finally pulled ourselves away from our books and lounge chairs (our condo was on the water and the deck was shaded all day so that we could sit outside and read without ever getting overheated) and got ourselves cleaned up for dinner.

Chelan is home to several wineries so on our way to town/dinner we made sure to stop and taste some wine! Nefarious Cellars was absolutely gorgeous (and had delicious white and red wines). After tasting four or five wines, we purchased a bottle (to take home) and a glass and sat on their patio enjoying the view.

I think this had to be the most beautiful winery view in all of Chelan! Despite the grey skies, the temperature still hovered in the high nineties, plenty warm enough to be sitting outside! 

Saturday was Dan and Kristie's big day! Again, we sat on the deck at our condo, doing nothing but reading our books and enjoying the various sights and sounds of the lake. The wedding was at six at a winery called Rio Vista outside of Chelan (a 25 minute drive from our condo) so we left early enough to ensure that we made it on time. We were plenty early and decided to take advantage by tasting the wine before the wedding (we tasted their red blend, the malbec and the temparanillo…all red wines).

Of course we took some time to take some photos in front of the grape vines! They had their vines labeled by type so you knew which grapes were syrah, which were chardonnay, etc.  

I wore a dress that I purchased last summer to wear to a wedding and Craig wore his snazzy shirt that he picked up in the airport at the end of our previous vacation this summer.  Don't worry, Craig removed his hat for the wedding ceremony. 

We also spied on the bride while she took pics with her family. : )

Because there was a forecast of rain, the dinner portion of their reception was moved inside, into the tasting room. It was a little cramped, but since Dan and Kristie had such a small wedding, it worked! Loved the flowers!

After sipping wine and enjoying the gorgeous views at the winery, we headed to the ceremony location, which was overlooking the river, beside a gorgeous willow tree!

Kristie's entire family was part of the wedding party, including her two sisters and their husbands, brother and his wife and her one year old niece! What a cute way to start the wedding procession right?

Both Dan and Kristie walked down the aisle with their mom and dad. So sweet! 

Don't they both look gorgeous? Kristie's hair was amazing!

Right in the middle of the ceremony, there was thunder! I started to get a little nervous thinking that lightning was going to strike or that it would start pouring, but the rain held off! Kristie and Dan got through their ceremony without a hitch and then it was time for appetizers and drinks. 

After a round of passed appetizers and wine, we headed inside for dinner.

And dessert! (cake and cupcakes…I took a cupcake outside to eat on the grass and shared it with the resident black lab who proceeded to slobber all over my dress).

Just as the party was moving back outside for dancing, the light became perfect for photographs. It was the magic hour as I like to call it…that moment at dusk where the light is just perfect! Isn't it pretty? 

The night concluded with dancing! Kristie and Dan had a live band who played lots of fun dancing tunes! Love how their flower girl (niece) decided to join them on the dance floor for their first dance! 

After their first dance and their dances with their parents, the wedding guests spent the rest of the evening dancing the night away!

The wedding was a blast (of course!). The next day (Sunday) was our last full day in Chelan. We followed our same routine…reading and lounging during the day and venturing out for dinner in the evening. So relaxing!!

On Monday, we were up early and drove home! Kristie and Dan are back in Alaska already (sad, because  we didn't get to see them again before they left). : (

Perhaps another trip to Alaska is on order!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Happy Birthday Lexi!

Lexi turned six today! 

(Photograph from Tails-A-Wagging)

We celebrated today by meeting Craig at school where he has been running a band camp this week. Lexi jumped out of the car and acted like she knew exactly where she was going. She ran right toward the soccer fields and had a blast running circles around the kids, licking their faces when she could. 

Clearly it is a beautiful, northwest day today. So instead of heading home, we loaded Lexi into the car and drove over to the Farmer's Market in Fairhaven. We sat on the grass and shared a pint of blueberries with Lexi and the most adorable toddler who walked over to pet Lexi and then proceeded to eat every blueberry I handed him (I thought he might want to feed Lexi). He must have eaten about 20 blueberries before his dad finally coaxed him back with the promise of string cheese. Ha!

After our blueberries, we ventured over to the Colophon Cafe for lunch (dog friendly on the patio!). We're home again now and later I'll be sure to give her some birthday treats including a giant birthday bone from her doggie daycare! 

Happy Birthday Lexi girl!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Just One

We just returned from a long weekend at Lake Chelan. It was three glorious days of relaxing and doing pretty much nothing while sitting in lounge chairs on the deck of the condo that we rented that was adjacent to the lake. We only ever ventured out at around dinner time and then returned to our condo for the remainder of a peaceful evening. The condo had no television and no wifi, so Craig and I read….lots! 

We attended Kristie and Dan's wedding while there (the purpose for our trip), but other than that, had no agenda at all. It was lovely! 

The sunsets each night were gorgeous, the spectacular colors came partly from the wildfires that were burning nearby. 

This sunset was enjoyed from our deck. I don't remember which night this was, but it doesn't matter.

I'll be back soon with more pictures from our trip, including Dan and Kristie's winery wedding!