The Kofford Family relocates to Colorado after 40 years as Californians. In December of 2007, Grandma Lorraine is diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. Sadly, she passed away on Dec. 26th, 2008 after a year long courageous battle. Follow our journey as we keep Lorraine's memory alive, and as we learn to appreciate that each day we are given, is a gift to be enjoyed!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~Maria Robertson

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Piano and Packing

Today Ashlyn had her, "National Piano Guild Auditions" where she memorized 6 pieces to play for a judge. All went well and her piano teacher was pleased with how she did. Ashlyn loves a good challenge so the piano teacher would like for her to enter some "composition competitions" where you write your own music and perform with others. It sounds like a fun goal to work toward, and Ashlyn was excited to have a new challenge. Here she is today with music in hand...look at those fancy pianos in the store where the auditions were...those grand pianos cost $38,000 plus! our dreams!

It was a beautiful morning with the sun shining, but the clouds have rolled in and it looks like rain now. Colorado weather changes within minutes and hours so we always have a lot of variety.
Poor Roscoe is exhuasted after chasing the landscaper's dog around the pond...he ran circles around the big golden lab and would roll down the hill, and climb back up over and over again. He can barely walk today!

The kids and I are also packing up for our 10 day trip to California. We're leaving tomorrow morning bright and early out of Denver to fly to Sacramento. Tom will be home in Colorado, but will join us for a few days.

We've got our work cut out for us with packing up my parents home, boxing items to keep, preparing items to sell, donate, give away, etc..etc.. I'll be awarding the scholarship recipients their monies while we are there and submitting an article for the local paper about the fund. All proceeds from the estate sale at my parents house will also go toward the scholarship fund, so that is a positive thing.

I'll be sure and let you know how it goes, and if you are in northern CA feel free to stop by...I've got a car to sell, furniture, dishes, tools, you name it. Anything I can't keep I hope friends, family, and those who need it can benefit. I am sure I will cry as every box and momento leaves the house, but I am planning on taking lots of pictures so I can at least hold onto picture memories.

There is no internet service at my parents house, so my blogging will be limited to trips to Starbucks to use the free Wi-Fi. I will look forward to checking in with all of you when I can. Enjoy the last few days of May, and remember to make every day count!

With love from Colorado,
Denise :-)

P.S. The pond project won't be done before we leave, so when we return home I will have several follow up blog posts to share...the pond renovation, the spray paint furniture, the wall of photo frames, the "fashion show" etc....etc...Happy Summer to you all!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summertime=More Pond Improvements :-)

Bobcats at work moving dirt; boy have we got a lot of dirt!
Hello All! It feels like eons since I last posted and now I know why. I guess I was spending a lot more time on the computer than I ever admitted during the school year! Since the kids have been home for summer vacation, my computer time is limited to about 15 min. a day! Between the kids e-mailing their friends, playing "Toon Town", "Webkinz"and various learning games, our computer is in use for hours at a time. When it is not in use, I'm keeping the kids busy and enjoying outdoor time.
Tonight Tom had to work late so the kids and I ate our dinner outside on a picnic blanket. Hmmm, why didn't I discover this trick years table to clear, no crumbs to sweep, and juicy watermelon falls right on the grass and not down our shirts! One of the many joys of summer! :-)

Last night our nephew Kevin stopped by as he was driving from California back to college in Missouri. He and a friend stayed over and we had a nice visit with them. College kids are so sweet. They eat everything you put in front of them, they rave about home decor and genuinely appreciate hospitality. They both left thank you notes for us when we got up, their beds were made, towels folded, and I think they were just about the nicest college kids I have ever had the pleasure to know!

We've got another home improvement project in the works this week. Last year we had our natural pond dug out deeper, and the extra soil from the pond was used to create an island and a big hill that the kids enjoyed sledding down this winter. Now we are changing the sledding hill to include a waterfall with big boulders. This will enable the water to start moving and hopefully clear it up as it is pretty murky and muddy. Fortunately, 3 turtles have survived the yucky water, but if we can clear it up then fish could be added. They would keep mosquitoes at bay and we would enjoy having our own catch and release fishing pond. I've already got plans to start looking for a little dingy boat with a few oars so we can 'tootle' around the pond this summer!

Here are a few photos of the pond action...

Spillways for the water to flow into the pond...

The island full of weeds...soon to be landscaped with a picnic area.

The top of the hill with a crater in the middle...interesting how they dug little pools in the middle of it.

You know kids, dirt hills are an instant magnet! :-)

Tom enjoying one of his favorite pasttimes...his ride on lawn mower! What man doesn't love to sit down when he mows his lawn!
I've also been busy arranging details for our upcoming trip to CA to empty my parents house. I have found a woman who does estate sales, and she and her team will be helping me with the big project of emptying everything so that I can prepare the house to sell. I also have a car to sell while we are there. We have rented a U-Haul to get everything that we can keep back to CO. Thankfully our friend Warren has graciously agreed to make the thousand mile trek and drive the U-Haul for us since Tom's work schedule will not allow for that much time off.
We're also going to meet the special teachers who are our scholarship recipients, and submit an article and photo for the local paper. I hope it will generate more interest in the coming years so I can keep the scholarship fund as an annual event!
Lastly, I wanted to apologize for completely neglecting our 3 week challenge. I lost all momentum on my trip out to CA a few weeks ago. Cleaning and sorting through my parents belongings was a lot more emotional than I anticipated and my grief was so raw for weeks after that I have fallen off the exercise wagon and I am not proud of it! So, until I can get my own act together, I promise not to start challenges I cannot follow through on. I hope you are all making positive life changes though, and hopefully your changes will help inspire me to start back up again!
Until next time, Happy Summer!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day... a day which commemorates all those of the United States armed forces who were killed in war. Memorial Day is an annual holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as "Decoration Day", it is a reminder of U.S. men and women who died while in military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.

My dad served as an officer in the US Army in the 1960's...although he never fought in a war, we always knew the sacrifices that men and women have made for our country.
Today we remember those who have lost their lives fighting for our freedom, their families who have suffered such great losses, and those who continue to keep our country safe by serving in all branches of the armed forces. Thank you...we remember you today.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Last day of school!'s a been a whirlwind few days! The kids had their last day of school on Friday. Both the elementary school and middle school had picnics. Ashlyn's school has a long standing tradition of doing a picnic in the front lawn of the school on the last day. It was super crowded, and I thought doing it out on the back field would have been better, but a tradition is a tradition, so we jammed in with all the others. I was just glad that Tom went to school at 7:30 a.m. to put a blanket out to save a spot for us. (We were given that tip last year!) :-)
I thought this was a neat tradition...they ring a big school bell that has hung over the entrance to the school since the 1940's to symbolize the end of the year! All the kids cheered as the bell chimed!

Remember a few weeks ago when Kyle didn't make jazz band? Well, today Ashlyn had her first "Horse Show" and once again we got to experience the 'agony of defeat.' (I do have a happy ending to Kyle's story though!) She placed last in her class, (3 out of 3) in the beginner level. It was one of those life lessons where we talked about "Having pride in doing your best" and "It's not about winning but the experience", etc... Luckily she quickly overcame her disappointment which was good since I was the amateur photographer for the event and didn't have much time for condolences. I felt for her though since we actually thought she did well, but such is win some and you lose some.

As the photographer, it was fun to see all the riders and horses performing. Here are a few hightlights...

Ashlyn and Chummie...2nd place in Horsemanship and 3rd place in riding... Demonstrating a sitting trot on the lunge line...
Cutie Megan from Level 4 with her 1st and 2nd place ribbons!
I don't know this little girl's name but don't her blue eyes just light up the picture?! She got a 1st and 3rd place in Level 3.
This girl is showing the "jumping position."
Little Jesse in 1st grade earns a 1st and 2nd place ribbon in the Level 2 class. It was a fun day for all the girls!

Afterwards Ashlyn and her friend Caitlyn are getting to have a sleepover tonight! We took them to "Build-A-Bear" after the show and then out to dinner!

Stuffing the bears...
Fluffing the bears...
Oops...Ashlyn's animal is actually a kitty...I'm not being very observant today!

Caitlyn's final bride bear!

Ashlyn's final kitty all dolled up with outfits and accessories!

The rest of the sleepover is still unfolding as I type. The girls are in the basement watching a movie and munching on popcorn! What a pefect ending to a fun day!

Lastly, one bit of good news...remember my comment above on how Kyle didn't make jazz band a few weeks ago? Well, a funny thing happened the other day! The orchestra and band kids all joined up for a party in the band room. During the party kids could play instruments just for fun. Kyle picked up a guitar and started playing not realizing anyone was listening to him. A few moments later out of the corner of his eye he saw the band director watching. A day later she approached him and said if he was still interested there would be a space for him in jazz band next year! How neat that once she heard him play outside a 30 sec. audition she saw some of his strengths! If only the judge in the horse arena could watch again! hee hee :-)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The finished paint job!

Whew, after 9 days, there are no men peering in my windows, and the exterior paint job is finished! The painter said that the paint will last years longer when it is hand rolled vs. sprayed. This process took 4-5 men over a week to complete. What a big job, but worth the wait as the house needed a color makeover!


After...The back view of the house...

After... Remember my spray paint project to change the look of our light fixtures without buying new ones? Here is one of the finished fixtures lining the driveway...

More spray painted light fixtures on the garage...

Before...The table and chairs with green paint and faded chair pads...
We spray painted the chairs black and I put new chair pads on, but the table is still waiting for a facelift. It's a wonder what a can of spray paint can do! :-)


After...I thought that some decorative shutters would add to the front of the house so those were added on. It's been fun watching the transformation!

Lastly a little product plug... I made an impulse buy at Costco today and what a find for $9.99! It's a frozen Yoplait smoothie mix with three kinds of berries and only 70 calories! Oh my goodness, the kids and I absolutely loved them! There are 5 frozen packets for a total of 10 servings. There are only 70 calories per packet, 3 kinds of fruit, and you mix it all in the blender with a cup of milk. It was so delicious that I wanted to share this great find...

Tomorrow is the last day of school for our kiddo's, so the countdown is on! I'll be stopping by your blogs soon; I've got lots to catch up on in your lives! Thanks for sharing your tooth stories too! I smiled reading about Anita's kids using them for the science project; what a good use of old teeth! :-)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Do you know where your teeth are? :-)

No, not the ones in your head silly...I'm talking about your baby teeth. :-) Where is your first tooth that isn't much bigger than a few grains of rice? How about your molars and eye teeth? Are they hidden in your mother's drawer? Maybe we were an odd family, but my mother saved all my teeth in her dresser! I too have now saved every tooth our children have lost, and as each child learns the 'truth' about the tooth fairy, he and she will get to see all those long lost teeth! Some came out easily and some were trauma-filled, especially those the dentist had to pull! My mom saved all my teeth in an vitamin bottle. I remember once I learned about the Tooth Fairy, I was given access to the mystery bottle which held years of secrets and surely at least $20 worth of teeth! (Today's child must receive $50 plus for 13 years worth of lost teeth! :-)
Check out the wisdom teeth my mom that is a whopper of a chomper! hee hee

Kyle has seen his secret stash of teeth, but as far as Ashlyn is concerned, the "Tooth Fairy" has used all her donations for castles and tooth filled sidewalks like the book we have explains!
Do you know where your teeth are, and have you saved your children's? Or, perhaps I'm just a little weird saving these little treasures! :-)

Are you a "Blogger?" If not, please join us in cyberspace! :-)

Thank you Anita from, "A Wife, a woman, a Mom" for the fun "Fancy Pants Award!" Once awarded the "Fancy Pants" honor, we are to tell about why we enjoy blogging. About a year ago I posted all the reasons why I thought friends and family who weren't bloggers should start one! So my take on the award is below, with hope that you too will consider starting a blog today!

I'd like to give this award to any reader who would like to use it and pass it on! Have fun and thank you Anita! :-)

From Oct. 2008...."Maybe you have thought about it, maybe you have tried checking out blogger to see how it's done, maybe you have entertained the thought of starting your own blog... If so, I am here to encourage you to do so!

Here are some reasons I think you too should start a blog!

...because your friends and relatives would love to see how you are doing, and view photos of the people and sights around you that are important.

...because you have a story to tell.

...because it's fun!

...because it's easy!

...because it's FREE!

...because I would read it daily!

...because I would leave you a comment and let you know I visited!

...because you would like to share some of your favorite music on the "playlist" feature.

...because you love maps and can follow where your readers are located.

...because you have a hidden creative side and would enjoy playing with free lay outs to express yourself.

...because you may not feel creative, but blogger will give you the format so you don't have to be creative!

...because when the holidays come you will have lots of photos to share.

...because you can earn extra $$$ with bloggers ad option.

...because you are busy, and blogging is an easy way to keep up with multiple people when you may not have time to phone or write letters.

...because you have something to say; and I want to read it, see it, and follow YOUR story!"

Won't you consider a blog today? :-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Congratulations Scholarship Recipients!

You may remember that in honor of my parents and their love of teaching, Tom and I developed "The Apple Tree Scholarship Fund" that would assist teachers and student teachers in my parents community. Several of you have contributed and I have so greatly appreciated it!

After reviewing many worthy applications we have narrowed down our scholarship recipients to 2 existing teachers and 2 student teachers in Tehama County, CA! You can read about the winners and how they will use their scholarship funds to assist students at our Apple Tree Scholarship blog. We are excited to hear the stories of how their students will benefit from the funds in the coming months. All funds will be used to directly benefit students in elementary through high school classrooms. We are excited to announce 4 wonderful teachers that will be entrusted with your contributions!

Please take a moment to visit the scholarship blog site and read about these special teachers. My parents loved to teach, they loved to share ideas and materials, they loved to watch their students thrive, and I am certain that the scholarship funds will honor their memories in so many ways! Thank you!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Weekend Happenings...

Horseback riding lessons in preparation for next weekend's Horse Show at Briar Gate Farm.

Ashlyn warming up on the lead line riding, "Chummie." Grooming is fun!

Another spray painting project...lawn chairs and exterior light fixtures...we are adding black accents to the exterior paint so I thought the old lawn furniture needed a face lift!

I'll show you the after photos tomorrow when everything is dry and back in place... I found some new chair pads that I will put on when everything is dry...we've had these for years!

Whew, these are in desperate need of a face lift!

The Girl Scout Tea...mmmm....cucumber sandwiches and cookies! A furry friend gets to join the fun! :-)

Picture framing...old photos, memories, and memorabilia will adorn this wall heading down to the basement. I'm doing simple black frames with cream mattes for an elegant look. I just love the look of black against tan and I think if the frames are uniform it will tie both old and new photos together!
I'm going to put our wedding photo in the center of the wall and have my parents and Tom's parents wedding photos branching off. Then we'll add grandparents, great grandparents, and family members from both sides of our families!
Inexpensive Wal-Mart frames that when filled with photos, will come to life! "After" photos to come...we're waiting on some special pictures that still need to be developed.
We've got our work cut out for us the rest of the weekend....

What are your plans? I like to hear what you are doing; not to be nosy, but just because it's just fun to know what everyone is up to!

With love from Colorado, Denise :-)