Monday, August 31, 2015

Happy Anniversary: Harper Creek Falls Hike

Our anniversary is not today, it was actually August 21.  But with such a busy week at the beach last week, I did not even open my laptop.  I am just getting to pictures and blogging today.

This year Jackson and I decided not to do the traditional, dinner out to eat, for our anniversary.  Instead we decided to go for a hike.  And what a beautiful day for a hike.  We have been married 22 years.  It was a wonderful hike, we drove along Wilson creek and on up to the trail head.  Very few people out on the trail on that day, a few pack in campers but that was it.  For most of the time we were alone on the trail.  It is around 5 miles round trip, in and out to the Harper Creek Waterfall.  Part of the hike is on the Mountain to Sea Trail.  We hiked in and took the upper trail and ended up way up above the falls.  So we then back tracked a bit to the fork and took the lower trail, which was still above the falls a bit, but with a wonderful view.  We have decided that at some point we need to pack in and spend some time here along the creek, just that beautiful.  Here are a couple of pictures to mark the day:



And this last picture is for my brother, Jeff.  Just to let you know that I think about you all the time and someday we will have to go on a hike together!



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Preparing for MY Week

A friend of mine, Nancy, has been telling me how she organizes her food for the week.  To save time by cutting up veggies at once, so if you are cutting up an onion for tonight's dinner and know you need two more for the week, go ahead and cut them all up and put the rest in the refrigerator until needed.  It sounds wonderful.  And if you know me, you know how I LOVE organization, anything to make my day run smoother, find things I need to find and organize my life.  I have shopped for groceries by a list for years. Before I head to the store I plan out what we will be eating for meals for the week, of course not everything as things come up and sometime I just don't feel like cooking, but for the most part I plan meals and plan shopping.  This has been such a time saver.  And I will cut up veggies ahead of time....some veggies....not all....and generally only the ones I will be using for breakfast and/or lunch as well.

Until last week.  Oh My GOSH!  What have I been doing all my life.  My friend neglected to tell me all the benefits to really preparing for my week!  I took time last week to cut up all the veggies as well as pre-cook things like rice, in advance, not only saving me time but SERIOUS peace of mind!  I mean really.  There was one particular day when I really didn't want to be cutting up veggies in the late afternoon.  It is just that time of day when I have been going all day and just want to relax a bit and do NOTHING.  And I was getting myself into a funk, when it popped into my head that everything was already prepared.  All I had to do was toss the veggies in the pan and heat up the rice.  NO CHOPPING at all, great time saver, great energy saver, and great SANITY saver.  THANK YOU NANCY, but really you need to share that little piece of heaven with the world.  Let everyone know what a benefit this is.


Another funny coincidence....while I was at another friends house mid-week, we were chatting as we always do and the conversation took a turn toward food, as it always does.  I mentioned this to her and she pulled out of her purse some coupons for her local grocery store that actually will prep FOR YOU! She called to check out the details and they said that you pick your produce and bring it to the counter and they will prep it how you like it and you just pay for the items, not the service.  How cool is that!  Of course not a grocery store near me, but a definite benefit for my friend.  That would be awesome, to not have to even prep your own produce and not pay extra.

I am sure Nancy probably has plenty of other tips for you over at her web site, maybe I should snoop around there more myself.  You can find her and her tips at WholeFood-Living.com .  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Taking a Break Makes Everything Better

I have been busy the last couple of weeks with pre-conference "stuff".  All those last minute details really add up.  So Sunday Jackson and I decided to take a morning hike and just get away for a bit.  We have found that anything before noon is a great time to hike.  For this hike we started at Moses Cone Park, hiked down to Trout Lake and then up to the top of Rich Mountain, about 10 miles round trip.  These are again very nice carriage trails.  On our way out, there was really no one around, I think we met one hiker with his dog, but otherwise our only hiking companions were the animals.  On our way back down we ran into more hikers and horses (with their riders of course), and by the time we were back at the park it was FULL!  It is so nice to get away like that.  Just the quiet of the morning, spending time with Jackson, I feel so much more connected to the world around me, and to Jackson after a great hike.  Sunday was very sunny until we reached the park, then it was overcast. Really nice hiking weather, but no view from the top of the mountain. Here are a few pics from our Sunday!

Some of our hiking companions.

This is about 1/2 way up the mountain and you can see we are in the clouds.

More hiking guides.  The cows might not like thistle but the bees seem to enjoy it.

And a deer that walked beside us for a while
Here is the view from the top in one direction, nothing but clouds.

And so we turned around to give you a view in the other direction, more clouds.



Friday, August 7, 2015

My Name is Pam and I Am a Yarn "Collector"

Isn't that what hoarders say, they "collect" things.  So maybe I am a yarn hoarder, or maybe a collector or even call me a "stash builder", yeah that sounds much better.  But over the past week I have bought so many great yarns and some ON SALE.  Yes a great yarn sale, can you beat that.  If you live near me and have not been over to visit O Suzannah's Yarn Shop on Union Street in Morganton, you MUST go.  She has some great yarn on sale right now and is getting in so much cool, unique yarn!!

Can you have too many yarn projects on your brain?...Maybe.  I see so many great projects in my yarn. And this photo is only a small portion of what I have, but I can't wait to dig in.  I will say I only have 4 unfinished projects right now on needles.  Will hopefully finish one of those today, if I can keep myself out of the new (wonderful) yarn for that long.  I told myself I would not buy any new yarn without a plan in mind. My problem is, I can see a project for all my yarn.  There is only one ball I don't have a specific project lined up, but I brought it home so I could play with it some and see how it works.  It is a unique yarn and I think I have to see how it knits up first.  But I know there is a project in there somewhere.  So here is my current, most recent, stash purchases.

Isn't it lovely!!

OK the breakdown, here is some yarn that was on sale.  You can see it is a project in the works, an afghan for me.  You can see a little of the pattern here.....NOT finished.

This is going to be a shrug.  Again yarn ON SALE!  It is going to be really soft, love this.  and to the right is some cotton I picked up because I need to make some more dish cloths.

The colorful yarn here is recycled sari silk, and I think that will make a wonderful poncho for me.  I can't wait to dig into that, so delicious!  And to the left is some grey yarn ON SALE!  I made a shawl out of that, loved the pattern and how it turned out, will have to show you that in another post.  

I think this will make another fabulous poncho.  It is thicker, and oh so soft.  It will knit up nicely!

The two in the center of this picture are destined to be a shawl.  I can see the black contrasting nicely, and just bringing out the colors of the Baah yarn.

Oh my GOSH!  This yarn is so luscious!  There is just no other word, I have already made a scarf from this and these two balls are going to make a cowl.  It is silk and yak, yes YAK!  Who knew yak was oh so soft....I mean really....who knew!  You have to feel this to believe it. And in the front right of this picture is some sock yarn.  That will make wonderful self striping socks.

This is the only yarn that doesn't have a project at the moment.  It is a cotton blend, a fingering weight, maybe even a light fingering weight.  It is a boucle, so I am thinking maybe a wrap?  But will have to see how it knits up.  The color is fabulous.  If you have any ideas, or have used this yarn before please leave me a comment, I would love to know what you have done with it.  

And so ends my daydreams for the moment.  I need to get back to a beach cover up I am knitting right now.  It won't take long to finish I just need to stop thinking about future projects and get it done. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Weekend Happiness

I had one of the most fabulous weekends this past weekend.  Nothing real exciting but just so many "nice" things.  I love it when that happens, family time, feeling connected and plugged in, great moods all around, beautiful weather, time to get outside and enjoy it all, and time for myself as well.

Saturday I enjoyed spending time at the gym with Jackson, challenging ourselves to that darn Jacob's Ladder, legs that feel like jelly afterward.  If you have never tried a Jacob's Ladder you should, it looks so easy but is really challenging, GREAT leg and butt workout, man!  Here is a little video I found on youtube:



Then I spent time outside knitting.  The weather was perfect in the afternoon, shaded under some trees on our back deck.  Love some alone time relaxing and doing the things I enjoy.

Sunday Jackson and I went for a hike, we hiked the Flat Top Tower Hike up at the Moses Cone Park.  It is a nice well manicured carriage trail. We are generally up early so by the time we got to the park it was about 9 AM, very few people there at all, nice and serene.  The view from the top of the tower is amazing, you can see 360 degrees all around the area, mountains everywhere.  I am no good with directions and identifying what I am looking at in which direction, but luckily for me, Jackson is a wiz at that, so he was able to point out different mountains in the distance.   Of course by the time we were on our way down it was just after 10, so you could hear the sound of the Tweetsie Train whistle every now and again.  The temperature was perfect, around 70 degrees of coolness, which felt really nice!




Following our hike we had lunch at the Coyote Kitchen in Boone.  We have only eaten here once before but it is just so delicious.  So we have now decided we need to hike more up near Boone and Blowing Rock so we can eat lunch here more often.  Just a wonderful selection of vegan, and non-vegan, foods.  And they accommodate food allergies.

Once we returned home, brought the boys Lattes, we decided to see the new Mission Impossible, which was actually quite good, even though that series is really not my thing, and I generally don't enjoy Tom Cruise movies.  It was nice to spend time as a family.

So like I said, nothing spectacular this weekend, but it felt like a spectacular weekend to me!