Friday, December 26, 2014

A Flurry of Holiday Cheer and Lights

Some of my fondest memories of the Christmas Season are viewing the outdoor decorations and Christmas lights.  Christmas lights have always captured the child lurking in my soul.  As a child we searched out Christmas lights on the way to visit relatives during the Christmas Season taking different routes each trip to ensure we saw as many different light displays as possible.

My Grandfather and father handmade a life size Christmas display one Christmas of Santa, his sleigh loaded with Christmas packages and reindeer.  It was mounted with lights glowing on the roof of my Grandparents house.  Each year Santa returned to my Grandparents house for many years and then upon our house eventually on my parents house.  I wish I had pictures to see the display but it remains intact in my memory.  As a child I loved this magical time of year.

I still do wander different roads today in search of unique lighting displays.  It is one way I relive the magic of Christmas's past.  I believe there have not been as many light displays as years past.

Coeur d Alene Lake has lights that light up around on the North end of the Lake.  There is a boat cruise that we have taken in the past..  This year I went a on a driving tour around the lights of the lake with some of the other sisters.  The Boardwalk around the Marina has many displays and others only available from the boat tour.

The boardwalk as viewed on the internet
  A holiday dinner with Sisters on the Fly at the Cedars Floating Restaurant


                             ......we added a certain 'glow' to the festive atmosphere of this elegant restaurant.
You can see some of the lights on the lake behind Carolyn on the right pic.
  The Motto of the Sisters on the Fly is..... We have more fun than anyone.................. And We Did!!

This year the Gaiser Conservatory in Manito Park was remodeled and decked out for Christmas with lights, poinsettias and other Christmas Blooms.  I have visited the park many times in the past but never when it was lit with Christmas lights.  There are two wings, one for tropical plants, one for desert plants and the center main entry section which contains a waterfall and pond with benches for sitting on a quiet day.  This night there were hundreds of festive participants waited their turn in line to view this free Christmas lighting extravaganza. Auntie, Hailey and I were able to find a handicapped parking space right in front and were met by an display elf assistant who moved us to the front of the line.

Even the lines and crowds of people do not dampen my spirits as I take in the beautiful display and I was able to  get some decent photos without all the onlookers.


Probably one of my favorite views was outside the observatory. One of the inside helpers from "Friends of Manito Park" suggested that I take a picture of the observatory outside before we leave.  I am so glad she did.  In my rush to leave all the people and congestion I might have missed the glorious sight.

Isn't it gorgeous ablaze in in colored lights?

What a beautiful gift to the citizens of Spokane this lighting display has been.  How wonderful if it were to be open more days to allow more to view its wonder.

James King is up for national honors for Best Private Holiday Light Display in's annual contest.  James and his wife Karrie painted and cut out some 55 Disney characters to complement the 9,000 lights on their Spokane, Wash. home.

The couple, both Disney lovers who met in the fourth grade, spend over 40 hours on their display in an effort to give a Disneyland-like experience to those who many never get to visit the California theme park.  I have seen many fabulous displays showcased on television from around the country but this home displays the love and and Christmas spirit one family has to offer.  People come from miles around to view its festive lights.

It comes alive with the lights and music.

And close to home a little friendly competion between husband and a wife

New York may have the Empire State Building....

(from the internet)

But Spokane has the Steam Plant Stacks

And Finally.......One house has been a showcase for over fifty years. Each year the owner has built a new light displays having worked on them throughout the year and over the years he has garnered a faithful following.  I went by again this year and this year found a sign instead......

After fifty years of displays...... you deserve a rest...... 
More than children are disappointed.

but I'll be back next year for you see, some of the kids never grow up.

We found some spectacular lights...... some simple.  But I enjoy them all.

Hope your Holiday was Merry!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Finding a little Ho, Ho, Ho

While maintaining a large house, farm animals, a job and growing children, it was difficult to do all the things I wanted to do around the holidays.  Sometimes my Ho, Ho, Ho got lost in all the frenzied preparations.  The list of all the things that make a perfect Christmas grew longer and longer.

December 18, 2008 

I lead a simpler life today. 

Yet, the dream of making a gingerbread house has remained. 

I dreamed of a beautiful house covered in candies sitting in the center of our table but it was always bumped down the list by other pressing activities. One year I even made the gingerbread walls, gathered the candies and yet, the house remained in pieces....

Saturday, I woke up ready to embrace creating a Christmas Vision I have long held. 

Rather than risking not getting to the creation step this year, I decided to jump to the building step.  This year I gathered graham crackers, candies and whipped up a batch of Royal Frosting and set out to build a Christmas Trailer much like my own little Lolita.

                                                          Royal Frosting -  Whip together
                                                                       2 egg whites
                                                               3 cups powdered sugar
                                                  a little water to desired consistency

 Gluing the graham crackers together using Frosting. 

I piped on frosting for the vertical walls before construction of the wee trailer house.  Apply candy quickly as the frosting drys hard in just a few minutes.

 After several hours of work, this was the finished product.  While it resembles Lolita.... I must admit it looked a little like a fourth grader made it.  SO...............

The next day, I made another wee Christmas trailer.

While I visualized making this in my trailer one day..... (all the better without the baking stage) I have also decided that postponing activities to someday  only leads to disappointment and dreams deferred. 

While not quite the reality to match my "Christmas Vision", I have embraced my inner fourth grader and have my wee little Lolita! 

 Today was a fine day to enjoy the Christmas Spirit!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lolita Basking in the Morning Glow

A neighbor across the river where Lolita is Winter Parked posted a sunrise picture.

Swiftwater RV in the bottom left of picture.

Miss You Lolita..... Wish I was there!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Keeping On, Keeping On.... and other Winter Ramblings

It seems last year I spent all winter resisting nesting and settling in.  My life seemed focused on living a mobile life while home based in a wintery location.  I sought out like minded outdoors people and followed new trails while planning for the escapes in the Spring and Summer.

If you have been following along for awhile, we have had some grand escapades and before you begin to worry we will again.  However, I find myself not working so hard at it.  Taking each day as it comes is my present motto.

Is this a sign that I have given up the dream of full time travel 
simply a sign that I have settled in to a life that is different than I planned?

When I had a sticks and bricks house to maintain, a job, mini farm and foster children, a great deal of effort and money went into maintaining a home and family.  Get-always were always on the back burner and complicated to orchestrate.  A willing neighbor feed the barnyard crew but their was always so much to catch up with upon  our return.  While most of those responsibilities are behind me now, I at times find myself feeling like I am living in limbo. I know that my simplified life will allow us to travel again.

For now, a granddaughter who longs for roots and belonging in a school community hold us stationery for now during the school year.  We have been making changes to our stationery nest (carpeting in my room and decorating for the holidays) and attending church with Auntie.  After thanksgiving we again made a meal for a church sponsored homeless effort.   

Last spring and summer we were able to travel and fulfill some of my travel dreams. A trip to Utah and trip around Washington State satisfied for a time the wanderlust that I have always felt.  I struggled with  the physical demands of travel and hiking due to previous injuries.  So this fall during our stationery time, I have decided to address getting into better shape so that the injuries don't prevent me from doing the activities that I desire.  Trips to the doctor have resulted in physical therapy to try and strengthen injured areas. Therapy is certainly painful, but  I am hopeful that it will help.  We shall see.....

During the Christmas holidays, we are planning a trip to White Bird, Idaho to where the trailer is wintering.  We will be on winter storm watch so that we travel when the passes are clear of ice and snow. We hope to enjoy a winter holiday.   So far, no snow so I am praying for NO snow so I can be a happy camper!

Last year at this time I was moving into a carved out spot in the basement to capture some needed private space.  This year there is new carpet and Christmas decorations.  I do believe I am settling in.                           But then again....
                                                 my mind wanders to Spring....
                                                                                              to adventures yet to come.

            Long winter nights leave to much time for thinking.....