Saturday, December 18, 2010

Big K Ranch & Murder Mystery Dinner

Every day on my way to work, I listen to the AM radio news station, because the FM cuts out pretty soon after leaving Roseburg (mountains & stuff).  They do a contest every week called "Know Your News."  If you email in the topic they say everyday, you're entered into a chance to win something on Friday.  Usually it's dinner for two at a local restaurant.  THIS time, however, the Big K Ranch was hosting a Murder Mystery Dinner, and I think if they offer a prize they might get a discount on the advertising.  Anyway, I emailed every day, and Friday before last, while I was home prepping for Open House, the radio station called & I'd won!

I had driven past the sign for the Big K on Hwy 138 on the way to the coast many times.  I kind of knew where it was.  I got home from work a little early since it was the day before the break, and we waited for Connor to get home so we could go to Costco for fittings for new glasses for Connor & Diana.  I have my eye appointment today & I'll get glasses too.  Lee has a voucher for each of us that allows us all to get another pair for free (well, Connor is getting TWO pairs for $4.00).

We wound up leaving for the ranch around 4:45, which meant it was dark by the time we got to where it was.  It has a long, windy packed dirt road to get out there & it was DARK.  2,000 acres of ranch land with no lights till you reach the lodge!  It was an adventure!

Once we got there, it was obvious this is a really nice well-kept family-run place.  The cabins look like log cabins from the outside, but inside they are more like studio apartments.  There was no TV, but we had entertainment at the lodge anyway :)  Normally there's a game room in the lower level of the lodge with pool tables & arcade games, but the cast of the show was using that for their staging area.

I really want to go back.  Especially in the daytime so I can see the 8 miles of riverfront property.  They do boat floats & horseback riding and all kinds of ranchy stuff here.  They also do big brunches for special holidays like Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, etc.  They do package deals with the brunches so you can combine an overnight at the same time (although for us, we are close enough we could just do the brunch).  They also do corporate retreats, weddings, and family reunions.  The cabins are $129 - $179 depending on the season.  They do package deals that include meals.  And the cook was GOOD.  We had called ahead because of the vegetarian thing, and she'd made this wonderful portabello mushroom/spinach Greek thingamabob that was outstanding.

The Murder Mystery would have been $45 each, so we got this little romantic deal worth $230ish for free because I listen to the radio.  Good stuff!!!

The Big K Ranch, Elkton, OR  They have videos & stuff on this website, if you're interested.

Lee got a "role" as the mayor, although he didn't have to do much.   They had a lovely Portabello mushroom layered dish for us for dinner.  It was great!!
The cast of "Dead in the Sled - Ho, ho, ho.... Oh No!  It reminded me of the Birdcage Theater @ Knott's.
The murderess & her latin lover.
The cabin we got had a queen bed & hide-a-bed.  And a huge bathroom.
I think it's easier to photobomb a digital camera, because I really tried to avoid letting him do this.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Open House

Donna & Jim, their friends the Sacketts, and Kraig & Nancy.
Diana & her crowd :)
Rocky & Melly by our tree (isn't it pretty?)
Lee's folks - Bill & Rita.  I'm so glad the weather cooperated so they could join us :)

Our Spread:  Spinach dip & sourdough, regular & cranberry salsa & strips, chips & onion dip, sliced apples (thanks Nancy), soft cheese & crackers, Trevor's fudge, Diana's Linzer & Gingerbread cookies, Connor's Juicy Lemon Cake, Rice Krispie Treats, Stollen & chocolate truffles.  There was also hot spiced cider, coffee, tea & hot chocolate.  YUM!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Still lots to do

I wish more readers of my blog could actually attend this little event...  Maybe after we retire?

I have an Open House again tomorrow.  This is our annual 'gift' to our friends & family to come & spend some time & snackies with us.  We invite pretty much everyone we know and can have 20-40 people show up.  The parking is a bit tricky, but people seem to come in waves so usually we don't block the street with cars all at once.

I have a plan I follow to get the house ready.  It's pretty thorough, and at the end, I have a clean house that lasts through Christmas.  All the decorating is done, and I can focus on my family after Open House is done.  I really like that part.

Today I still have an enormous of stuff to do - the living room is the only room that's actually "ready" right now.  But it looks really good :)  I'll be working mostly on the kitchen, my room & prepping food today.

Diana is home from college & Trevor is done with his finals too.  I have to remember to delegate stuff to them :)

I'm off to make their lists of what to do today, as well as mine!  Next blog entry should be photos from Open House :)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Violin Scholarship

Connor gets a little fixated on things, being the kid he is.

A while back, he assigned everyone in the family a color.  He also assigned the Holy Family colors, because, you know, they need to have them too.  He is green, and Trevor is red, by the way.  Trevor doesn't like being red - but that's how it goes :)

Once all the colors were assigned, Connor moved on to musical instruments.  We coached him to let the people who actually play a specific instrument to have that instrument assigned to them.  So I have guitar, and Diana has flute, etc.  Connor chose the violin for himself.

I think Lee & I have both posted in the past about Connor's enjoyment of classical music on YouTube, specifically Brahms, Bach and Beethoven.  Something about the "B's" - I don't know.  In any case, he especially loves pieces with violins.

This last year, he started doing choir at school as well (last year it was art).  He has an assistant with him in choir class who is very impressed with Connor's ability to learn notes & sing.  He did really well at his Fall Concert with the choir - better than I'd hoped.  It was great :)  What impressed the assistant was that Connor would sing the harmony, while the rest of the class sang the melody.  It's not that he knew the songs (we don't go around singing "Shenandoah" around here), he just read the notes and figured it out.  Because we explained this to Connor's teacher & aide, they realized he has a bit of a gift when it comes to music.

There's a local Arts Center here that likes to sponsor students in music, among other things.  Connor's assistant found out about a scholarship available to kids his age, and sent home the application form for Connor.  When I filled it out, I obviously made mention of Connor's autism, and then his love for classical music.  I never know how people will take in that information.  On the one hand, there are some pretty dang cool autistic savants in music.  On the other hand, he may have already gotten what he wanted out of violin, and is ready to move on.  It's really hard to tell.

One thing is for sure, though.  We were not intending to spend a lot of time & effort trying to teach him violin.  Neither Lee or I knows anything about it, and we don't know how well Connor would take to it.  We don't have a budget that includes music lessons or instruments at this time.

After we filled out the paperwork, Connor's choir teacher decided to loan Connor a violin.  Wow.  That's pretty brave :)  I'd been looking on craigslist for something that it wouldn't matter if it got ruined.  He has actually been very good about putting it away carefully.  He has no clue how to play it, but he likes trying to 'serenade' me when I take an afternoon nap (NOT helping!!!).

So today I got a letter from the Umpqua Valley Arts Association.  They have decided to award Connor $250 for lessons and the use of a violin!  It goes through his teacher, not us, so it's going to be set up and all we have to do is get him to & from lessons!  Wow!  I'm so excited for Connor just to see what will happen!

I really hope he can figure out & put together that holding his fingers in a specific position on the strings makes a specific sound with the bow.  Once he's got that part, I am anxious to see how far he can take it.

Too cool!!  Go Connor!

I'll keep you updated :)