Tuesday, December 23, 2014

We're Nutty!

I know we are a nutty family but every year for the last 30 years our family has had a tradition of going to the Nutcracker Ballet as part of our holiday celebration. We used to always go to Oregon Ballet Theater in  Portland but now that our daughter lives in Seattle we see the magical, whimsical version done by the Pacific Northwest Ballet .

This year was an especially magical year for us to see the Nutcracker Ballet because of course we got to take our little granddaughter Eleanor. She loved it - watched the stage and clapped when everyone else did. The PNB Nutcracker was designed by Maurice Sendak [the author of Where the Wild Things Are] so it is a more fanciful interpretation of the traditional ballet.

   This is one of his rat kings...  and obviously my grand-baby is a little nervous but she is safe in granddad's arms!


   I just love this tradition - I love the Nutcracker Ballet and I also love an elegant evening out with my family. It's a great way to start Christmas!

Happy Holidays to all of you!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cowboy Culture

Contrary to popular opinion, Denver is not just Cowboys and Stockshows. The "mile high city" also has a lot of fine Cowboy Culture and when we get a chance we visit as much of it as we can. The Anschutz Collection of Western Art  is housed in this stately old home. Across from the Brown Palace Hotel, the house has a bawdy past but is now fully refinished to be a lovely showcase for Mr Anschutz's collection. The front of each floor is left intact as a period "parlor" but the interior is a lofty and modern space with floor to ceiling paintings hung in the 19th century "salon style". An amazing array of art including Bierstadts, Remingtons, Russells, and O'Keefes. WOW!

This is the famous Klaus Von Oldenburg statue in front of the Denver Art Museum. And look who is visiting DAM with her grandparents! We were here to see the incredible display of Cartier jewelry. It's a world exclusive exhibit called "Brilliant" that encompasses 75 years of stunning jewelry and other ornaments. Most of the jewels are original and real. The show also gives a historical overview with many interesting insights into the people for whom the pieces were created: kings, queens, maharajahs and movie stars.

For outdoor art, the Denver Botanic Gardens has an exhibit of Chihuly blown glass. Most of his pieces are wild and crazy like the chandelier above my baby's head. But at the Botanic Gardens the art blends with the flowers, plantings and water features. Some of it is surprisingly lovely and peaceful. It's a real treat to wander around and enjoy it all.

Now for true Cowboy Culture try Urban Cowboy at the Mile High Station. This is a fund raiser for Brent's Place, and it involves lots of food, drink, swing dancing and mechanical bull riding. OK, we did dance - we did not ride the bull!!

            So there you have it- the brief overview of Cowboy Culture in Denver. Check it out!

Friday, November 28, 2014

So Continental

As Interim Innkeepers, Kirk and I get to cook many different styles of breakfast - each inn is different and we serve the same breakfast that the owners of the inn would serve. Most B&Bs serve a plated hot breakfast each morning alternating between a "sweet" and a "savory" entree. We do four course candlelit breakfasts, grab as you go breakfast bags for early travelers and everything in between.

   But more and more B&Bs are going continental which is what we are currently providing at the Dove Inn . As more guests are becoming more health conscious, a breakfast of granola with fresh fruit and eggs seems better than waffles with syrup and bacon. Even PAII [Professional Association of International Innkeepers] suggests that continental is the way to go!

Of course there are a few tricks to a really tasty continental breakast:
1] Great homemade Granola [I can not give you Elizabeth's recipe, darn!]
2] A yummy fresh Pastry for those who do want to splurge
3] Lots of good fresh Fruit
3] The "perfect breakfast Egg" [this is a recipe I can share with you]


The MacKaye Harbor Inn Perfect Egg:

                               Start with 6 good quality brown eggs,
                               Bring to rolling boil, boil for 3 min,
                               cover and sit in hot water for 10 min,
                               ice water bath for 5 min -Perfect!

                         So good and good for you!

                                                      Now, let your guests ENJOY!
                                                    What is your "healthy" breakfast?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Rockies Rock!

   Kirk and I both think the Rockies ROCK - no we do not mean the baseball team!

  For the last month we have had the Rocky Mountains as our backyard and I thought we could share a few of our favorite spots with you. I mean we share them with our guests all the time, right?

  This is one of my special pic-nic spots on the road to echo lake - Panorama Point. It's just a short hike but from there you can get views up to Mt Evans and down the valley toward Pikes Peak with the Rocky Mountains spread out for miles - WOW!

 This beautiful stream is Echo Creek also on the way to the lake and you do not even have to hike to it - just right on the road. When our guests want a scenic drive, we always send them this way. It's just really beautiful especially in the fall.

 Now, this is Red Rocks Park, right near our inn, with a stunning short hike. Well, the hike is short if you do not spend too much time climbing on the rocks like Kirk does. The path meanders through some amazing rock formations with views of the Rockies in the background.

  You know I am all about the pic-nic, and this is one of my favorite lunch places - they even provide tables, napkins, bathrooms and an amazing view! What more could you ask for? All I have to provide is cheese, crackers, chicken salad, grapes and iced tea. Gotta love it-

    One of our absolute favorite spots in the Rocky Mountains is Enchanted Mesa. It's a great hike. You can do anything from 3 to 13 miles [well, I never do 13 but you could] of stunning scenery. It really ROCKS!  So next time you visit the Rocky Mountains - try K&Ks favorite spots, ok?


Friday, October 31, 2014

BOO to You!!

  One of the great things about being a professional innsitter is that we get to spend the holidays in different places each year. This year we spent Halloween at the Dove Inn in Golden Colorado - such FUN!! The city blocks off the downtown area and encourages businesses such as our B&B to offer treats to little ghouls and princesses in a safe area. It's like a parade past our door and just a treat for us to be a part of it this year. Check out Kirk in costume giving candy to this family...

There were lots of scary, funny, adorable, elegant and interesting little people, demons, frogs, butterflies, monsters, queens, superheros, lions, firefighters and witches out this Halloween.

                                                  But our favorite is  this little pumpkin-
                                             Our Granddaughter Eleanor -Isn't she sweet??

                                                                Happy Halloween!!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Golden Fall

   Colorado is simply glorious in the fall! The aspens turn golden and dot the mountainsides with color - just amazing! So, we have spent a few afternoons hiking and driving in the mountains to enjoy the show and the golden fall.

 Of course the reason we can do this is that our current assignment is in Golden Colorado. It's our "home away from home" . We love it here! And it is especially beautiful in the fall.

In the fall Golden usually enjoys nice weather, colorful leaves and of course fall decor such as this fireplace at "our" b&b.

   One of the fun parts of my job is that I get to decorate the front porch - too many choices.....

So, if you want to see a truly golden fall - come to Colorado!

                                                Where is your favorite spot in the fall?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Just Peachy!

Well, here we are.... back in Colorado to work and we got here just in time for the end of the
peach season. Lucky us!

   First, we get to go to the farmers market to pick the very best peaches from the very best Colorado farms.

   Look at these beauties.... they're just peachy!  Ha Ha!

Now what to do with them?? One of my favorite recipes I stole [ I told you I was a thief] from Sue, one of my clients, and Martine, my daughter. Now you can steal it from me:
Sue's Famous Peach Muffins:
Beat 1/4 C butter & 3/4 C brown sugar
Beat in one egg and 2 T cream
Add 1 1/2 cup fresh chopped peaches [I chop over the bowl so that the juice is also in the mix]
Add C flour, 1t baking powder and some spices [I like cinammon and ginger]
Bake at 350 for 20 min and top with:
Martine's Famous Caramel Frosting:
Boil 1/2 C butter, 1/2 brown sugar and 2t milk 
over med heat until dissolved then let sit for a bit and drizzle over muffins

Of course we also make peach pancakes, peach melba, peach cake etc....
We just love a good Colorado Peach.
What's your favorite peach recipe?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pedal and Paddle

 Here is Kirk loading "Buttercup" and "Rocky" onto the Lopez Island ferry. Why is he doing that and who are "Buttercup" and "Rocky" you ask. Well, my bike is named "Buttercup" and Kirks bike is NOT named "Buttercup" ..... go figure! They are being loaded on the ferry to go to our next job. When we go to work in the summer time we always take our bikes and our inflatable kayak, named "Cocktail" [now why would we name a boat that? I'll let you figure it out!] with us so that if we have any free time we can either pedal or paddle - two of our favorite summer activities.

   "Rocky" likes to pedal on adventuresome bike trails like this one at Myra Canyon.

While "Buttercup" likes to go on bike rides that involve pic-nics.

Lopez Island is one of our favorite places to paddle but this lovely blue kayak belongs to the B&B.

  This is our kayak "Cocktail". She packs up into a small bag which goes in the gear box on top of our small car. We have used her to paddle allover the world in rivers, lakes and the ocean and always had fun.

                                             Now why do you think we call her "Cocktail"??

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Flower Power!!

OK, one thing I love about being an Interim Innkeeper is that I get paid to do old-fashioned flower arranging. First I get to go out to the garden and pick the best blooms and then I get to design. Here at the MacKaye Harbor Inn each guest room has a fresh bouquet as well as the dining table and the side table.

 Fortunately, Robin [the owner] has a great garden and a green house so I have lots of different flowers to choose from. These two sweet little bouquets are for the dining room.

But each guest room is decorated with a different color scheme so I try to do something appropriate - check out the colorful flowers that match the pillow in the "Captain's Suite".


Here on Lopez Island we also get to decorate the breakfast with fresh flowers - so I have actually taken a class in edible flower arranging so as not to poison the guests, ha ha!

Here I am picking garnish flowers for the breakfast table. I have heard it said that people eat with their eyes and I guess that is true. Anyway, a lovely garnish can really add something beautiful to the breakfast table.

 These are my caramel/peach muffins garnished with fushias and below is Kirk's fruit plate garnished with roses [yes, both of those are edible].

                                                        What do you think of my
 Flower Power??

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ain't it GRAND??

It is just GRAND to be Grandma K.C. !!! Sorry to bore you with more baby photos but look at this sunny morning face - too sweet, right??

So, now that we are grandparents we try to schedule a stop in Seattle between jobs if possible. 
On our way to our current job on Lopez Island we got to spend one whole day taking care of our granddaughter while our daughter worked. Little Eleanor is 6 months old now and just so much fun!

And doesn't she look like her Grandad? Ohhhh too scary!

Check out the new dresses Grandma K.C. bought me:
the one with the turquoise ruffle came all the way from Turkey!
See how I am checking out the embroidery??

Being a grandparent is just GRAND!!