We got lucky this year and got to celebrate the New Year twice! Once with family and another time with friends. We had been deprived of friends and family for so long we decided to pour as many as we could to Crow Farm at once!

Since our friends had missed celebrating NYE with us, Justin had the brilliant idea to simulate the ball dropping from a recording of NYE that he found online. He brought the TV into the kitchen and made the room into a dance party. He put out a disco ball, pulled out his robot laser lights, his smoke machine and started up the party music. We all grabbed random costumes and light-up gadgets and started parading around the kitchen island. It was so much fun!! Then at “midnight” which was actually 8:00pm we did a cheers with fake bubbly for the kids and celebrated with a group yell of “Happy New Year!!” What a hoot that was! It will go down in the memory books for sure. There was so much singing and dancing and happiness.

Not only did we have New Year’s to celebrate but also Thanksgiving, birthdays and Christmas as well. Never a dull moment. Of course we did have some non-party fun with friends as well. Justin and our friend had a Dad’s Day while they worked out on the forge together and the kids and the Moms had a great sunny walk. The warm evenings were spent by an outdoor campfire roasting our favorite…apples! Our girls showed their friends how to make cookies using their own recipe and though I had my doubts, the kitchen stayed intact. The cookies were delicious and Eliza the piglet did her best to clean up after us. 🙂 Time well spent.

Next to visit was my lovely niece! We’re happy to say that she’s a frequent flyer here at Crow Farm. The girls were just overjoyed to have her over again and wasted no time giving her a new hairdo at their Peacock Salon. They successfully used all the clips in the house! My niece is such a good sport. They did ballet together and had lots and lots of good snuggling.

Our neighbor had recommended a local bakery to us, the Camas Country Bakery and Store. The bakery was tasty, they mill all their own grains, and their school house was almost more impressive. The owners of the mill/bakery discovered that a historic one room school house semi-nearby was doomed to be demolished. They couldn’t bear that thought so they paid to have it MOVED to their property where it was restored and now used as their eating area for customers. It is a beautiful and fairly large space with the charming original notes that students left drawn on the entryway room walls. It was a really neat space! We hope to be back soon.

One of the days my niece was at Crow Farm we hiked up Spencer Butte. I’ve mentioned us hiking it before but it’s one of our favorites; not too far from home, some good rock scrambles, good length for an afternoon and has great views.

Another day my niece was visiting we drove to the coast for a day trip. You can’t go wrong with sand dunes though it was very chilly. My niece and I stayed bundled while the girls ran in and out of the frigid ocean water and added sticks to driftwood forts. It was fun to get to have some new scenery and let the girls play. I still detest sand though. It gets in every crevice. 🙂

We thoroughly enjoyed having my niece stay with us and of course wish we could have kept her for longer. I am thankful we got to snag her before she embarked on adulthood post college.

Not too long after my niece flew back to her home our dear friend and old neighbor came to visit for a bit. She’s no stranger to Crow Farm and we are always glad when she can get away to spend some time here. Lots of hugs and time to catch up!

It seems so funny thinking of regular friend get togethers as a special occasion but after being sheltered for so long getting together with friends to go sledding was extra special. We drove up to the mountains for the day to do some afternoon sledding. I had forgotten how hard it is to walk through deep snow. The snow was just hard enough to let you get one or two steps on the surface and then –plunk!– down you’d go up to your waist. Up you crawl to have yet the same things happen! Haha, I found it easier to crawl across the field which must have looked hilarious. I did see a couple other parents out there catching on and doing the same. It was a pretty funny sight seeing the parents crawling while the light kids pretty much walked right on top! I was very thankful we had the van to warm up in, dry ourselves off and cook a simple but warm lunch. It’s such a cozy space. This summer there will be more cozy trips to come.