Thursday, September 30, 2010

A is for Apple

I love apples in the fall.  It's a sign the seasons are changing.  So, a few weeks ago we stopped by my family's cabin in Lakeside, MT and picked some apples.  Plus, my mom had sent over a box of apples a few days before that.  Needless to say I had more apples than I knew what to do with.  So, with an abundance of apples, I needed to get somewhat creative with what I could do with all the apples.

Apple tree at the cabin

Apples at the lake

A mama whitetail and her twins cleaning up fallen apples at my parents house

This picture is from last summer, but I couldn't resist...
Golf lessons with apples

Apple Pie

Center Piece

Pastry with Brie Cheese, apple, a little brown sugar and walnuts.

I guess you can always eat them on their own

Applesauce for Parker

Broke out the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer and made some Apple Juice

Appletini anyone?

I think we may be drinking Sparkling Apple Juice tonight, since Chris has his big 30K run on Sunday.

Happy Champagne or Apple Thursday!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

30K for 30YRS

Guest post from Chris...

Hello I'm Chris Yates and you may be at this page because you're one of my friends or family, business associates or someone I'm close to recommended helping me out.
In a nutshell, here's the story. I'm running 30k (18.6 miles) on October 3rd for charity as part of my 30th birthday. My goal is to raise $3,000 which will go to send 6 kids who are fighting cancer to Camp Mak-A-Dream in Montana for one week each. I'm hoping for your financial support to meet this goal.

Why I'm Running 30K for Charity
On September 6th I was lying in bed thinking about my upcoming 30th birthday. I had this nagging feeling that with a little more than a month until my birthday, I needed to do something challenging; both physically and mentally. I also wanted whatever I decided to do to be a memorable experience; something I could tell my kids about later in life.
The next day I started looking around and asking my friends for ideas on what to do. I came across something called the Blue Mountain 30K (more details on that below) which seemed like a great fit since it's my 30th birthday. So, I registered to run in the race that same day.
I also thought that to make the race more memorable, I should do it for charity. There is a great charity here called Camp Mak-A-Dream (more details on that below) that runs an event called “Ride Around The Pioneers in One Day” where bikers raise funds for Camp-Mak-A-Dream based on how far they ride. I figured the same model would work for my run.
Now, I do have to say this isn't going to be an easy task for me. First, I've never run over 18 miles at one time. Second, I haven't even regularly exercised since before my son was born (almost two years). Also, $3,000 is a lot of money and it's going to take my entire network (you included) to raise it. BUT... it's a worthy goal and it's going to be worth it both for me, you, and for the 6 kids it will send to Camp Mak-A-Dream.

More About the Blue Mountain 30K
The Blue Mountain 30K is a cross-country run that winds through one of the recreations areas near where I live in Missoula, MT. It takes place at 8:30 A.M., Sunday, October 3, 2010. It consists of 30 Kilometers (18.6 Miles) of mostly single track dirt trail. There is a 3,600 ft elevation gain and drop which makes this a very challenging run. You can find out more about it at

More About Camp Mak-A-Dream
Camp Mak-A-Dream provides a medically supervised, cost-free Montana experience, in an intimate community setting, for children, young adults and families affected by cancer. The campers are able to leave the difficulties of a life affected by cancer behind, and replace it by unexpected delights: comfort, friendship, security, achievement, serenity—to name just a few.
It is located 65 miles east of Missoula, Montana, in Gold Creek, a small, peaceful, ranching community at the foot of the Flint Mountains. You can find out more about Camp Mak-A-Dream at

About Your Donation
All of your donation will go towards my $3,000 goal which will be split into 6 $500 “Camperships”. A $500 Campership ensures one camper can go to Camp Mak-A-Dream for a full week completely free. We'll even get to hear directly from the camper we have sponsored following his/her time at Camp.
Children's Oncology Camp Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible as allowable by law. Tax ID #81-0472959.

How to Donate
My thought is for everyone to make donations by the Kilometer that I'll be running ($30, $300, etc.) but any amount helps! I got things started with a $300 donation from my company. If you donate, I'll let you know how the run went and also send you over the stories from the campers as I get them. If you have any questions, please call me at (406) 360-0486. Please donate before October 3rd (race day). You have a few options on donating:

  1. Donate at this page by clicking the “Sponsor Me Now” link. Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts.

  2. Mail me a check payable to “Children's Oncology Camp Foundation”. My address is:
    Chris Yates
    6012 Hobson Ln
    Missoula, MT 59803

  3. Next time you see me, hand me the cash, check, money order, or any other form of payment and I'll make sure it gets to the right hands.
Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's the Climb

Our stair project is finally complete!  It was a lot of work, mostly done by Chris, and it took way longer than we ever expected.  There were a lot of steps (no pun intended), so there are quite a few pictures documenting it all.

Here are a couple before pictures

Luckily I was able to sell all of our old material on Craigslist

We sanded, primed and put two coats of paint on before putting them up.  We really should have waited to put the second coat of paint on until after they were up, because they got a little nicked up while they were being put up.  Plus we had to fill the screw holes, so they ended up getting another coat of paint anyways.  We used the same Bistro White paint we used to paint the trim.

Sanding and painting all of the balusters
We stained all of the hand rails and newel post with three coats of stain, two coats of Red Mahogany and one coat of Ebony.  Then painted on two coats of poly.

Staining the hand rails
We decided to make our own newel posts because they are fairly expensive and we wanted a pretty simple design.  We routered the corners to give it a little something, plus sharp corners aren't very baby friendly.

Sanding the newels, before cutting them

Not Parker friendly

1st Newel Post up

Making sure the balusters are level

Getting the perfect angle on the balusters
Balusters up on the climb up the stairs
Making the Newel Caps - We bought an oak board and cut it a couple inches longer than the diameter of the newel post.  Then we stained it and attached it with one small nail in the center and some wood glue.  
Top piece added
We bought a couple pieces of trim and stained them.  Then cut the trim, kind of like a frame, to go around the top piece.  
Trim added
Once everything was attached and the nail holes were filled and stained, we painted on a couple coats of poly, for a nice finish.

Newel Cap finished

Here are a few completed shots

If I would have known how long this project took to finish, I would have hired someone.  So, not something I really recommend doing yourself...That said, I LOVE the way it turned out.  And a big thank you to my hubby for all his hard work!  It's going to be hard getting him to take on anymore home improvement projects for a while :)


I'm linking up

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Amazon Mom

I wanted to share this new Amazon membership program with all my mom friends.  With Amazon Mom you can get "up to a year of FREE 2-Day Shipping with Amazon Prime benefits, 30% off diapers and wipes, as well as exclusive offers for the whole family. There is no cost to join--sign up today."  In order to save 30% you need to sign up for the Subscribe and Save option, which is a recurring shipment of your order.  You can change your order, the frequency or cancel at anytime.  I signed up to get diapers delivered every couple months, just to try it out.  I might need to up the frequency though. 

I love finding good prices on things, especially items I need to buy frequently. And its one less thing you need to go to the store for.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

I bought this mirror at TJ Maxx for $8.  Pretty ugly, right?  Black and gold, yuck!
It needed a little update.  First, I painted it white with a small paint brush to get all the details, then I sprayed a couple coats of an aqua colored spray paint.  Now it has a home in our guest room.

I love the way it turned out and it was super cheap.  Can't beat that!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Grandparents Day!

I like to make Parker's grandparents picture collages for Grandparent's Day.  For some reason, grandparents seem to like pictures of their grandbabies :)  It's super easy to do on Google Picasa and then you can print them anywhere.

Here is the collage from last year:

And here is the one from this year:

Happy Grandparent's Day!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Little Me Time

Reading is one of the things I enjoy when I have a few minutes to myself, which isn't too often.
One of my favorite authors is Nicholas Sparks, I love all of his books.  I was excited to see he has a new book, Safe Haven, coming out soon.  I just pre-ordered it on Amazon.  I didn't even read the description of the book, because I know I will love it!

Safe Haven

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Best of Both Worlds

Tomorrow is Parker's first day of daycare, well first since we've been in Montana, he did go to daycare when we were in Seattle, but I don't think he remembers much of it.  I'm filling out all his paperwork and packing his little back pack with his diapers, wipes, extra pair of clothes, EpiPen and Benadryl, crossing my fingers that he will never need the EpiPen or Benadryl.  Parker is allergic to eggs, dog & cat saliva and some grasses.  Parker loves animals and its sad he can't play with any puppies, since they love to give kisses.  And food allergies are just plain scary!  We are hoping he outgrows all of his allergies.
Sidetracked a little...
I feel lucky I've gotten to stay home with Parker, but I want him to have more social interaction with other children.  He will go to daycare two days a week and be home with me the rest of the week, a perfect balance.  He'll still get lots of mommy time and lots of play time with new friends.  As for me, I will be spending more time working with Chris and possibly running an errand or two by myself :)  This will be a positive experience for both of us.  Just hoping for a smooth transition...

Me and my cute boy!