Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The Shortest Day

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

- Susan Cooper
Author of The Dark is Rising novels

Looking Forward

Ah yes, once again it is time for "reflection". 2012 already has a few things on the family calendar. I'm excited to be heading for a retreat in mid January. I just get so much sewing done while away and totally focused. Another is on the calendar for March and one in April with my Runaway Quilter buddies. In the fall I will happily go back to Anna Lena's great retreat down south.
Also in May Lynn and I are going to his conference in Southern California. Then he is going to take a week or so of vacation and we will do some coastal driving. I might have him convinced to drive down instead of flying.
The BIG trip for me is a 2 week Caribbean cruise in late October, early November with sister Carol. It has been at least 4 years since I have cruised and already I can hardly wait!! We are both working on losing some major poundage. Well working on it might be used a bit loosely here.....
I've been processing some other ideas for projects for 2012. Mostly involved in the kitchen and in cooking. Right now I'm twirling around ideas regarding certain cookbooks and learning or mastering some cooking/baking techniques.
I think I will have a separate blog for this adventure, but I will keep any of my followers here who might be interested updated on that.
It's interesting to me that when I really get involved with the art of cooking, I really don't eat very much of it. I tend to savor. The joy is in the prep and any appreciation from whoever might be eating it. I want to work with some foods new to me. New veggies, fruits. More fresh herbs and some international dishes. And to make full use of the tools and appliances that I have accumulated over the last few years.
There are some great websites that show enough crock pot dishes that you could use it everyday!! For any meal! I want to be using it at least once a week. And to enjoy more non meat meals.
Anyway, just wanted to get a note up. Still things to do to prepare for Christmas Sunday with the kids and grands.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Nice Holiday Memory

A couple of years ago I think the cats felt like they needed to contribute something to the Christmas decorating.
As I recall Lynn and I were quietly involved in something, probably reading (what did you think???) and I heard that tell tale sound of some prey the cats had brought in. Bunnies are the worst!!! But it wasn't the right time of year for that!
As we started looking for the cat and the victim, something whizzed by us! A bird, and survived well enough to fly!!!
Now to find him. He did fly down the hall so I ran after it trying to close bedroom/bathroom/laundry room doors. Lynn was herding cats and throwing them outside so they wouldn't capture the poor creature. Back down the hall the bird flew toward the main living area and we lost track of him as he flew through the kitchen. We knew he had to be in the living room somewhere. So we rattled the Christmas tree, and looked behind couches with no luck. As I turned towards the fire, and looked up at the wreath, sure enough there he was. Looking like an ornament.

Luckily my camera was nearby. I gave him some time to recover then gently got him and released him out the front door. Fly away, fly away home......

Sunday, December 11, 2011

looking back

Something about black and white photos.....I love that you can take photos today all digital and print them black and white.

Anyway, this is me and my younger sister Nancy and the best dog ever Skipper. I think I recognize that as a first grade hairdo, braids. I still fight with my bangs. And Jeff and Jillian can see where their ears came from and I'll forever be sorry about that.

Nancy was very, very blonde as a kiddo. And what is with that dress!!! Pretty sure it was one of Mom's creations. She used to make most of our clothes. If I could get away with wearing a jumper at my age and size, I would!! Loved pinafores.

Part of my tasks for 2012 will be to scan photos into the computer one day each month. It is such a great place to store and share them with family. It would be fun to then create a book, using a variety of sites! I will probably start with Costco since it seems pretty user friendly.

Absolutely one of my very favorite photos. Again with the blonde Nancy, and my Mom!! I have many photos of her in those plaid pants. She seemed to have liked plaid in those days, plus it could show off her sewing skills!!!

I think this was taken at LaPush on the Washington coast. We would go down there with some cousins and the adults would dig clams.

And here is my little sister Carol. Oh dear, and me with the perm my Mom thought she would try.

This is probably as involved as I was with Carol until she was in her 20's......LOL!!

Yep, I can see it was taken in 1958, so it must have been in the Kennewick house.

She is still cranky about the fact that she was too young to go on the big Disneyland trip and had to stay with some friends of Mom and Dad's....She's been going to Disneyland as often as possible ever since, just to rub it in.

And finally (for today anyway) is one of my favorite photos with my older brother Steven. He is 5 years older than I and had about as much use for me, as I did for Carol....

Don't you love his hat??? And my bonnet?
Now he lives in Georgia with his family and I hardly every get to see him. He recently joined Facebook (with most of the rest of us....YELLING AT NANCY!!). It is fun to be able to have some political banter with him, as we are pretty much polar opposites. He is living in the south, so guess which polar he represents....

I'm guessing this photo was taken at my Candy Gramma's house in Silverdale. I loved that place. Slanted floors and all. But that is for another day.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Circle of Friends Christmas Lunch Treat!

This week our group of 12 got together for our annual Christmas luncheon. Most of us have been meeting monthly to share our love of all things quilting for over 10 years. More about them in a future blog.

We each bring something to share for the lunch, and I made these cool little brownie santa hats!! I actually got this photo (and the idea!!) from Pinterest (another of my online obsessions....) and thanks to Cindy J, I figured out how to transfer the photo!! Since I forgot to get a photo of the ones I made.

Mine were a little bit different. I didn't have anything appropriate to make those little circle cuts of the finished brownies, so I used my tart tins and just baked the brownies in those - worked great!!

And I didn't make the marscapone frosting, but used a spray can of cream cheese frosting and they turned out even cuter than these. Big hit!! Easy and fun. I didn't realize how yummy chocolate brownies and strawberries were together.

Yesterday when the kids and I went to Bellewood Acres to get apples, I picked up this jar of Pickled Red Beets. They are these little bitty whole baby beets and I could easily eat the whole jar in one sitting!!!

I have never grown, purchased or prepared fresh beets. I don't know why not....I might have to look out for these baby beets when they are in season and pickle them.

Did learn a lesson about them when they are on a salad bar....they are really if you are paying per pound for your salad, don't load up!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

End of the Day, End of the Week, End of......other stuff

Here is a lovely photo of Jillian and Ethan with their school principal (remember, he is your PAL) and the music director at Isom Elementary school. Today was the kids last day at the only school they have known.
Granted, Ethan has only been there for a year of kindergarten, which was limited days, and 3 1/2 months of first grade. Jillian is into 4th grade and very enmeshed in school activities as you would know from previous postings of her doings.
They each wrote their teachers 'thank you and farewell' notes last night before going to bed.
Ethan drew many pictures, and lots of tic-tac-toe boards (?) and was pretty matter of fact. Thanks, see ya.
Jillian used her best penmanship and wrote a thoughtful letter to her teacher and when she was finished she truly did have tears running down her cheeks. We talked a bit about how hard it can be to say goodbye, and to have big changes happening.
I went to the school a little early to pick them up and got some photos in Jillians class with her classmates.

She is standing next to her teacher and reading her goodbye letter to her class.

They each wrote her individual letters and read
them to her throughout the day.

Jillian and her BFF's. They have all exchanged email addresses and phone numbers.

A nice group of classmates.

And one more group photo from her class.

I caught Ethan's class as they were leaving the gym. His class never leaves the classroom at the end of the day. It's either PE, music, computer lab or library, so I didn't get much time to get more photos of his friends...
He was pretty stoic until he got to me for a hug and then got misty eyed, and told me it was hard to say goodbye to his friends....

Once we all got into the truck, Jillian and I sat and went through several tissues, before we left the school for the last time.

I wanted to pick up our spirits so we drove to Bellewood Acres, which is a wonderful apple farm just a few miles up the road. Kids each got to buy a cookie, I bought a box of Jonagold apples, some caramel to dip them in, and some honey roasted peanut butter that Lynn likes to dip them in.

Hoping to use my new small pie maker this weekend! But mostly we are helping Jeff and Krista get moved into their new house. Kids will start at their new school, in a new town, in a new school district on Monday. Instead of riding the bus, or me picking them up, they will be walkers!! That is going to be very different. Krista has Monday off, so she can walk with them, then I will go over on Tuesday.

They have been in their little old farm house renting for over 8 years. Never having any neighborhood, or nearby friends to play with. Their bikes and scooters were only used here, but we will be taking them to the new house this weekend too.

Yep, the end of something special. And the beginning of a new adventure....