Monday, October 29, 2007

more WI pics

I know. Enough of the WI pics... move on Linda. Well, I can't. When it's 98 degrees (yes, it was 98 degrees on Sunday!), you gotta escape somewhere. So I give you a few more images of what I left behind, of where I would like to be, of why I can't let go just yet...

My Dad and his beloved John Deere tractor... his very first John Deere tractor... that he got back in 1969. He has bought many since then, but has never let go of his very first John Deere.
Now I know where I got it from... my being all sentimental, nostalgic, wistful and overly attached. I've cried when we traded in vehicles that our kids came home from the hospital in when they were born! I know, silly, but true.

My very favorite fruit... my very favorite colors... raspberry red and aqua blue. Everytime I look at this lovely image, I want to shoo that fly away. Do you see it? (clic the pic and see for yourself)

We fell in love with my niece's kitty Tazz. She is sooo loving, that she actually hugs you! She especially loved Randy.

My Mom loves when I come home so I can give her a little makeover... the usual cut and style. She looks so great! She is so healthy and full of energy that I can hardly keep up with her. I am praying Randy and I are as active as my Mom & Dad are at their age.

What an inspiration you are to so many. Love you Mom & Dad!

We saw many of these lovely pheasants while in Wisconsin. Randy would slow the van, I would roll down the window and point and shoot... um, with my camera. Have you ever seen a truer red!

I just made this picture my screen saver because I love it so much.
One day I wandered along this country back road taking dozens of pictures, wanting so badly to capture an image that would do justice to the moment, so as to never forget how this moment made me feel.
This image takes me back there every time.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

haunted mansion

My family adores the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland! I'm serious, it's their favorite ride! SO a few years ago when we went to Disneyland in December, they were in heaven because you see, the Haunted Mansion combines my husband's two favorite holidays... Halloween and Christmas! And while waiting in line they had all the Christmas carols written along the concrete walls using fun, scary lyrics. So like any musical family would do, we started singing these songs in four-part harmony and well, the reaction was quite flattering. Everyone applauded cuz, well, we sounded pretty darn good. So we spent the rest of our time at Disneyland singing Christmas carols while waiting in line. And can I just say, we were even getting requests! We actually toyed with the idea of proposing to Disney that they hire us each year to entertain while waiting in long lines. What do you think... we'd be sorta like undercover employees that sing while walking around Disneyland... think about it.
Oh, the Larson Mill was found at Big Lots a couple years ago. My maiden name is Larson so I had to have it!

So anyway, it has been Randy's quest in life to find the ultimate Haunted Mansion for Halloween. (um, the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland is like over $300.00) So as we were heading back to Phoenix from Wisconsin, we found ourselves in this little town in Kansas and we're eating at Country Kitchen and I mention to Randy that I had not gone to a thrift store in over two weeks. We had gone to plenty of yard sales while in WI, but no thrift stores. Just as those words came out of my mouth, I see across the street a big sign that says "Nifty Thrifty". My heart starts racing, my hands begin to sweat, my husband sees where this is headed and bless his heart, drops me off at Nifty Thrifty while he gases up the van. Love that man.
I walk in and I quickly sense that I have hit the motherload of all thrift stores. *Oh*my*gosh* Vintage sewing notions galore! The coolest 4-H mug with the 4-H pledge on it! (50 cents) A huge zip lock bag filled with packages of rick rack! Fall decorations and other real cool stuff.
As Randy and I were checking out I notice this Haunted Mansion on a table in back of the register. She tells me it's for sale but doesn't know how well it works. But in our eyes, it's perfect. We'll fix it if it doesn't work! She sells it to us for $20.00. We are so aware that we have uncovered a one-of-a-kind treasure. All the way home, we wonder what happens when you push the button. Well, wonder no more. Randy puts in fresh batteries and we were stunned! This computerized song begins to play in sync with various colored strings of lights and creepy, scary sounds and flashing, spooky, lighted windows. We were blown away! What a treasure! All we could imagine was our little grandchild pushing that button one day! How fun will that be!
Here it is! Be sure to turn up the volume!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

kate spade bag

Are you thinking I spent that much for this darling bag? Do you not know me better than that!
Here's the story. Well, I happened upon my neighbor's yard sale this morning and we became fast friends. She's from Minnesota, so what's not to like about a fellow-mid-westerner! My eyes quickly landed on this hot pink wicker bag. I put my glasses on and saw what she paid for it and thought no way... she probably wants more than I want to spend. She quickly told me she doesn't put prices on her items, because she heard you could make more by not going to all that work. I told her I do the same thing... but that I didn't want to insult her, so she needed to name her price for the bag. She asked if FIVE DOLLARS was OK. I choked out a YES as calmly as I could! Can you believe it?! And I love it to pieces! Oh and the inside is black with white polka dots! Tooo cute!
I'm not a designer kinda gal, so it's not about getting a kate spade purse... it's about getting something I LOVE for a song!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

the mighty Mississippi

More Fall pics from our travels throughout Wisconsin. (hey, I took over 900 pics!) We would get in the van most everyday and just hit the road. And around every bend would be these breathtaking settings that images can not even begin to capture.

I love this aqua blue bridge towering over the Mississippi River in Wabasha, Minnesota. We really enjoyed the National Eagle Center that had just opened the week before in Wabasha. Check it out here. A must see if you are ever in the area.

My Mom, Aunt Selma and I hanging over the edge of my favorite scenic overlook along the Mississippi River in Alma, Wisconsin. We found these blue-berried branches to take home with us. And the berries have yet to fall off!

And then just when you think you've seen it all.... along comes this!!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Door County

I love Door County so much that you can imagine my sheer delight in finding a plum colored sweatshirt that conveyed those very sentiments... "When I grow old I will wear purple and retire in Door County!" I was so tickled that I let out a squeal of laughter! You see I had just said to Randy earlier in the day that I wanted to live here someday! And get this, it was on a clearance table outside on the porch of one of those darling little shops... originally $55.00. And... oh, you know me so well... paid $13.00!!

I was looking through my Oct. issue of Martha on our trip and found out that these odd looking squash are called turban squash. I have never seen such vibrant colored squash before!

Love the Halloween artwork on this bottle of wine, and appropriately called "Hallowine". How fun and festive!

Door County is simply one of the most beautiful places in all of Wisconsin. If you look at a map of Wisconsin, you will see that it sorta looks like a mitten... well, Door County is the thumb of the mitten.
It was so much fun traveling through Door County with my brother Gary and his wife Kathy. So much to see and do... climbing up the 75 ft. observation tower at Peninsula State Park, the 130 year old Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, more wineries, hiking along trails, darling little shops in every town, discovering honey crisp apples (yum!) and sampling tons more local foods. And the day could not have been more perfect... blue skies, in the 50's, soft breezes off the Bay.

Be sure to scroll down and read my other WI posts if you are just now tuning in. We are back in Phoenix now and the weather has cooled off since we left. So happy about that! Check back for a couple more WI posts. Later!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

a local Wisconsin winery

I had no idea we had a local winery near the family farm where I grew up. One of the highlights of our WI trip was the TENBA RIDGE WINERY near Blair, Wisconsin. (check out the winery here) For three glorious hours we literally felt tranported to another country. What an amazing experience!

My sister-in-law Debbie made an appointment with the owner John for Randy & I to experience our first wine-tasting and tour of the winery. Sooo interesting! John does not filter his wines and unlike the store-bought wines that take a mere 45 days from start to finish, his wines take over four years! We brought home 2 dry reds, also a cranberry-apple sweet and a blackberry sweet. They are all exceptionally smooth and bursting with flavors. Don't I sound like I know what I'm talking about now!!

John has been making wines since 1952 and started this winery in 1989. His children own wineries and vineyards in Sonoma Valley and other parts of the country. What a fascinating man. After the wine tasting and tour we all went out on the veranda with our cheese & crackers and chocolates, sipping wine and taking in the gorgeous countryside.

He does not do any shipping, nor does he sell his wines in any stores and still sells over 15,000 bottles from his winery each year.

So, I can now check off one of the things I wanted to do before it's too late... and that was to go to Napa Valley. This was just as thrilling... truly a delightful surprise! One we will be 'savoring' for a long time.

Monday, October 15, 2007

the farm & cabin

The dairy farm where I grew up. Oh, how I love this place.

The cabin where we stayed the past two weeks. Thank you Ron & Deb! What a beautiful place to relax and enjoy God's creation!

Randy keeping warm near the toasty, warm pellet stove. What a blessing for him to have this much-needed time of refreshment and renewal. We cannot even begin to tell you all the ways in which we have felt God's provision, protection and profound love. We have truly had our dream vacation come true!

Friday, October 12, 2007

apple pickin'

Fall & Halloween decorations and roadside stands are everywhere here! I am loading up on gourds, colorful squash, pumpkins, colored corn, cattails and apples! Don't have a clue HOW we plan to get em home... but we will!

Take a look at the size of that apple! And the one in my left hand is actually a large apple too.

The apple orchard that we picked from is so gorgeous! And the aqua blue barn just added to the beauty!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

sisters, sewing & snowmen

Hey everyone! Spent three days with my sister Ginny over the weekend. Believe it or not, one very hot and humid weekend! Go figure! I actually went to a yard sale and bought the Levi capri jeans (a dollar) and red top (fifty cents) that you see in the pics below. Ya, miserably hot! But get this, the temp dropped 30 degrees overnight and has been in the 40's and 50's all week! Yeah, back to jeans and hoodies! Randy & I have been using the pellet stove in the cabin making it so warm & cozy and oh so romantic.

So what do sisters do when we have three days together? ANYTHING WE WANT! 
Well, of course we hit the road and set the camera on a timer and took lots of pics when we saw a fun backdrop. Which was around every corner!

We did some crafting with my Aunt Selma and cousin Shelly. My Aunt made this flannel rag quilt that I am SOOO going to make when I get home! Be sure to enlarge.

You guys! I made my very own tote bag!! Yes, I sure did! 
I made the one on the left with the scarecrow pin! Is it not the cutest Fall bag! 
Ginny made the darling leaf bag. They are so fun to make. I was so stinkin' proud of myself!

And check out these snowmen that we made! I made the one with the cardinal pin on the scarf. 
Too cute! Can't wait to set it out at Christmas!
Thank you Ginny! You are sooo incredibly creative and talented! 
I am blessed to have you as my sister... but more importantly... as my dear friend.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Wisconsin in October

Hey, it's me! Finally! Randy & I are having SOOO much fun! It's gorgeous here! I have already taken over 400 pics in a week! And this morning is the first time I've been able to get to our local wifi coffee shop and post some pics for you all to enjoy. Check back. More to come in a few days!

This is the farm house I grew up in. My brother Ron and his family live here now.

My Mom and Dad... my brother Gary and I at Hatfield. We grew up going here to swim and picnic.

Good bye!