Christmas cards 2017-William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge

This year we did our Christmas card shoot at the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge in Benton County. If you don't have this place on your bucket list, you need to add it. It's protected land in the Willamette Valley near Corvallis, Oregon. We've been here a few times over the past year and there's always something to see each time we go. We've seen a lot of wildlife up close and it's a great opportunity to see them in their natural habitat. This year is the first year that we've decided to blog about our Christmas card shoot and it's also the first year that we have decided to use our Christmas cards as an outlet to talk about all of these great places we visit too.

There are several buildings on the refuge land, but we chose the John Fiechter House to use for our Christmas photos this year.

The house was built in 1855 by John Fiechter. He used Douglas Firs from his own land claim to build the house and carriage house that sits off to the right of the house. In 1860 an addition was added onto the back of the house to accommodate the growing family-seven children-and John Fiechter's father-in-law, Abiathar Newton supervised the construction of this addition to the house. Bricks for the fireplace and foundation for the home were made of clays found on the property and actually fired and hardened on site as the home was being built. John Fiechter's success in the California gold fields helped finance the materials and labor to build the home and it was the first lumber and brick home built in the area.

Picture of the house as it were-(circa-late 1800s)

We took all of our animals-minus our goldfish, Berry-to the refuge with us to be in the picture this year. We were looking for a serious picture, but one with a slight be of humor to it. Ducks are just funny. It doesn't matter how serious we tried to be, Rosey and Happy-the ducks, made it humorous. -Side note on Berry-the goldfish: The Bean won Berry at this year's Strawberry Festival that took place this past June. The festival is in celebration of the abundant harvest of strawberries here in the Valley. Hence the name "Berry," as in straw-"berry."

The Bean dressed in his Berdan's Sharpshooter Uniform from the Civil War era, but of course his black Converse don't quite fit the scene.

The Mr. went with dark pants, a collared white shirt, period jacket, and a top hat. He also used a period cane and a silver pocket watch to get into character.

Straight-faces were common in older photos. Higher class families would keep a straight face because it was said that if you smiled you were poor, lewd, or just plain drunk. So in that time period if you wanted to be seen as upper class and as a person of good character you just didn't smile

Trying to capture just the right photo. Hardy (PITA) looking left...

...Looking right. And then we noticed the leash was showing the whole time. 

Once we had a good poition, people started watching us as if we were putting on a living history moment.

This is the photo we took for the cards, but decided it deserves to be framed instead.

We all agreed that this picture was the one for the Christmas cards. We even fit in a hidden "easter egg" into the picture. Do you see it? 

By the time we had a good shot Rosey and Happy were ready to stretch their wings.

We took a few photos of just the house and the land that it sits on. 

The carriage house.

William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1964 to help protect the Dusky Canada Goose winter habitat. Parts of the refuge are closed at certain times during the year when the Canada goose flies in. We saw at least three groups of 100 in a flock during our photo shoot. We were hoping for a glimpse of an elk, but not this trip. 
Dusky Canada Geese taking flight at the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge viewing stage.

You can read more about the William L. Finley NWR here.

Five simple things


I do hope your week as shaped up nicely. It's about 11:00 p.m. here and we are slowly winding down our evening. Our week was a little adventurous, to say the least. This past weekend we went to find two wonderful trees. One for the front sitting room and one for The Bean's room. We used to deck the whole house out in Christmas decorations, but over the years we just seemed to get rid of things slowly. I would prefer a zero-waste Christmas, but some things are too good to get rid of. We have about six ornaments to hang on our main tree and The Bean hangs about 10 on his. We wrapped them and lights and enjoyed them throughout the week. Monday was a normal day, but Tuesday, however, was a complete turnaround. The Bean and I took off toward the fire department to meet The Mr. coming home from a fire. We got about two blocks from our house and I took a rather large tumble after tripping on a large broken area in the sidewalk. I ended up flat on my face and pretty banged up. The Bean called The Mr. and I realized I had hurt myself pretty bad, so The Bean called 911. I literally couldn't move and was lifted off the ground by paramedics. My injuries and embarrassment were enough to cause anyone to burst into tears, which I did, and a lot of it. Needless to say, a quick visit to the emergency room proved no broken bones, but plenty of sprains, strains, bruises, cuts, and scrapes. I have been bed-bound since Tuesday night and The Mr. took off Wednesday and Thursday to help. Today I was able to get up from my semi recumbent position with the help of a cane. So lesson learned here, don't rely on city street lights to always light your way and take a flashlight to brighten your step.

Here are five simple things that made this week great!

1. Our tree.

We got the best Charlie Brown trees on the lot. I always love the way our red car looks with a green tree on top. It's one of my favorite things to see at Christmas time.

I love this picture of The Mr. and me, but The Bean jumped in at right at the perfect time to photo-bomb us. I still think it's a fun picture.

2. This moment.

The ducks love Hardy. They walk the yard with him and even nap with him in the sun. 

3. This house.

The Mr. and I have gotten more into the historic homes around the Willamette Valley. This house is located in Stayton, Oregon, and is known as the Brown House. We toured the house this past weekend and we loved how the Santiam Heritage Foundation has tried to keep the original items in the house in tacked. Such a lovely home that deserves to be preserved. You can find out more about the Brown House here.

4. These boxes.

Always have to give a shout out to Yogi Surprise when the new box comes for the month. These boxes for December went above and beyond. USDA Organic chocolate and the most beautiful tassel necklace in the jewelry box and the candle and Badger Sleep Balm in the Lifestyle Box. Wonderful items. You can grab one for yourself here and start off 2018 with a fresh perspective. Plus, get a $10 credit towards your first Lifestyle or Jewelry Box at Yogi Surprise! Use coupon: REFIDBCCX8VAM

5. Christmas cards.

I'm truly loving our Christmas cards this year. Such a fun photo shoot at the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge. Check out our Christmas Card Photo Shoot here.

A few more things:

• "FEMINIST" Coffee Mug
Own a piece of historic Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.
• Organic Clothes That Are Truly Organic
• Need a new nighty? Try this one.

Have a great weekend!

Five simple things


It's already December 1. 24 days until Christmas-jeez. I can't even get over how quickly some holidays come and go, but I wouldn't say that time flies. It comes at the same pace as it came when I was younger. It just seems like it comes faster, I think, because we have a lot more on our plate to get done before that holiday approaches. I had most of my Christmas shopping done in October-I like to stay ahead-and I mailed a few of the boxes on Thursday. There's still three more boxes left to mail to family and friends in Arkansas, but I always approach the holidays with a game plan. Since moving to Oregon, away from everyone I normally buy gifts for each year, you have to have a plan. Otherwise, you get behind and you stay behind until the first of the year. One of my pet peeves is people that always use the word "busy" as an excuse and that excuse always follows with, "I got behind." The best way to not be person that wears "busy" as a badge of honor is to always be prepared, even for the unexpected. I ordered our Christmas cards on Monday and we are currently waiting on their arrival. I can't wait to share pictures from our Christmas card photo shoot at the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge. We took at least 300-500 pictures and The Mr. and I sat down and went through them all to pick out our favorites. So stay tuned for that blog post coming soon. I love when December rolls around and you get other's Christmas cards with photos to see how much everyone has grown, changed, and had a wonderful year to share. Can't wait to see how many people start their Christmas letter with, "It's been a busy year for us..." ha!

Here are five little things that made this week great!

1. This picture.

This time of year I like to go through pictures we've taken throughout the year and find the best ones to frame, or pass along to family and friends. This pictures was one of the keepers. It was from Veteran's Day this year and I think The Bean fits in the picture well. I almost used this one for our Christmas cards, but our photo shoot gave us a lot of great ones to pick from. This picture will definitely find it's way into a frame soon.

2. School memories.

Going through papers and getting rid of things throughout the year I found a gem of a picture. My class of 1995 senior picture. Such fun memories from this day. We took a serious picture and then this one. Hilarious! The Mr. found me right away-knowing how goofy I was/am. Kudos to you if you can too. 

3. This box.

This is the FabFitFun winter box. It was full of some great items. The Ahava lotion and the FabFitFun TV exercise ball are awesome! This is a seasonal box and you can get one here.

4. Burlap print.

This print is hand painted by me and is selling out quick in my shop. If you'd like to have one before Christmas, you can place your order here and I will get it out to you as soon as possible. They are almost gone, so grab one fast. The shop is right this way.

5. Sneak peek.

Here's a little sneak peek of our Christmas card photo shoot. How great is this? Our little min-pin, PITA, is such a trooper.

A few more things:

Have a great weekend!