Final Five Hats for Now…

It’s time for Five on Friday and Friday’s Fave Five again. Thank you Amy and Susanne for hosting these weekly memes.

Here are five more hats I’ve worn or continue to wear.

2014 copied photos

#1 Self Employed Business Owner of Fresh Start a house cleaning and office cleaning business.

I started this business when we moved from California to Washington State while Dear attended the University of Washington to complete his degree and enter the School of Pharmacy. It was a successful business for the years he was in school and during his residency. Our sons were in elementary school at this time and our daughter was just 3 years old. My mother in law moved to Washington with us and she watched our daughter while I was cleaning during the day. I was usually home by the time our sons got home from school. At night Dear and I would clean a medical clinic and a dental clinic while our kids were asleep and Dear’s mother was home with them. This was a hat I was very happy to hang up when Dear got a full-time job in his new Pharmacy field. Dear was 40 when he completed his studies and got his first job at a biotech company in Seattle.


#2 Homeschool teacher for our daughter Katie.

When our daughter Katie was in fourth grade she began to show signs of stress and anxiety about school. We discovered she was being persecuted by several girls in her “gifted” class. We decided to pull her out of school and I homeschooled her for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. It was a good healing time for her and after these years she announced she was ready to go back to school for the 7th grade. The rest of her schooling went well and she finished strong including being a National Merit Scholar.


#3 Soccer Mom and avid Soccer Fan

My love for soccer/futbol began in the 80’s when our sons and daughter started playing on club teams and school teams. It escalated with the 1994 World Cup here in the United States. I took our sons to the training ground for the U.S.A. team and to their hotel and they were able to get autographs from all the players. We were able to go to a few of the games in Los Angeles and one game at Stanford. Currently we are season ticket holders for the Seattle Sounders. When in Milan, Italy I attended a game and in England we got the great experience of a Man U. game at Old Trafford.

We purchased these two Newsweek Magazines that were published during World Cup and the boys were able to get the player featured to autograph the cover. Later I had them framed.

Understanding the development of the plays on the field are key to enjoying soccer. I realize Soccer is boring for many but not me and I’m happy it’s getting more popular in the United States.

#4 Blogger

In March of 2007 my brother Steve forced helped me start up a blog. I didn’t know how to upload, download, or attach anything. I didn’t know what a URL was. I was afraid to punch a publish button. Little by little, step by step, I learned some of the ins and outs of blogging. At the time I started blogging Dear and I were living in a condo in Camarillo, California. I had lots of time on my hands with a home I could clean in 45 minutes tops and no yard to bother with.

In February of 2008 I met my first bloggy friend in Camarillo, Willow from Willow’s Cottage. We met for coffee and after we figured out we were comfortable with each other we made a plan to start walking together. We walked 2 or 3 times a week for 1 hour until 2010 when Dear and I moved back to Washington State.  Willow shared how she had been praying for a walking buddy. I still miss my great walking buddy, our conversations, our tea times, and the support we gave each other. You’ll find a link to Willow’s Cottage on my side bar. And I need to mention she’s a master knitter.

Bloggers I’ve met in person are Willow (California), Sara (California), Cori G! (California), Pondside (Vancouver Island), Jill (Utah), Ruth (California), and Wreathmaker (Millie) in Manitoba. Hope to meet more in the future.

#5 Cookbook Author with the Mennonite Girls Can Cook

This last hat is one of those surreal things that has happened to me because of blogging. While connecting to different blogs around the world I stumbled upon Lovella’s blog and noticed Paska (Russian Easter Bread) on her side bar. I wondered (note the name of my blog ~ The Happy Wonderer) why a Canadian who didn’t have a Russian name was baking Paska. Well come to find out this group of Canadian Mennonites had ancestors who settled in the Ukraine from Germany and through the years added Russian recipes to their heritage recipes and passed them down to their children. Lovella started a cooking blog and in time asked me to be a contributor to the blog since I am full blooded Russian and many of my mother’s recipes are the same as their mother’s recipes. In time our blog, Mennonite Girls Can Cook, became very popular and a publisher asked us to work on a cookbook for them to publish. The ten of us met all together face to face for the very first time to sign the contract for the book in September of 2010. Our first cookbook was published in May of 2011 and our second cookbook was published in Spring of 2013. All proceeds of our author royalties go to feed or help widows and orphans in the Ukraine and Africa and other countries. This was a decision the ten of us were most comfortable with.

The fun hasn’t stopped yet. We are now working on a Devotional with some recipes included. This book will be published later this year in time for a play (comedy) called Mennonite Girls Can Cook that hits the stage at the Blue Gate Theater in Shipshewana, Indiana. This one really caught us by surprise. More news on these events to follow.

Thank you for visiting and reading my hat posts. Hope you are all doing well. I just found out my neighbor Pat has stage 4 cancer (just diagnosed today). I caught her adult girls outside to ask if something was wrong with their mom. They shared with me about their mom’s diagnosis. Hug each other and love each other well. You never know what tomorrow brings.

About Ellen am a wife, mother, baba (grandmother) and a loyal friend. Jesus is my King and my hope is in my future with Him.

25 thoughts on “Final Five Hats for Now…

  1. It is wonderful to learn more about you since I am fairly new to your blog. Also, because of you, I have found a long lost blog friend – Millie! We have followed one another for years, but due to computer problems, I lost contact with her but now have visited tonight. Hope you have a nice evening and a good day tomorrow!

  2. You have led an interesting life. I had to chuckle over your cleaning business that you had no problem leaving. I had one, too, and I was glad to say goodbye to it after several years, too. Love learning more MGCC stories. I am so sorry to read about your neighbor.

  3. I enjoyed reading about how you connected with the MGCC. Yes, hug those you love. I went to a memorial service today for a friend who was just 61 and died of ovarian cancer. So sad.

  4. I have enjoyed reading about your many hats! You wear so many well!!

    I will look forward to the new devotional book from MGCC! I was introduced to you gals through Vee when I won the Celebration book a giveaway on her blog. I so enjoyed that book…not only the recipes, but also the thoughts and the musings that you all shared about celebrations, so I can imagine that the devotional will be lovely and uplifting.

    And a MGCC comedy? Intriguing! 🙂

    I am sorry to hear about your friend/neighbor. Yet another reminder to live life with eternity in mind.

  5. I’m sorry to hear about your friend Pat’s diagnosis. I have a friend who just found out that chemo had been ineffective with her cancer and she is now in hospice. I appreciated your advice and Cheryl’s as well. We never know. After reading about all your hats, I’m sitting here feeling like a lazy bum! LOL But I love someone else’s work and success. xo

  6. What a wonderful history of your start in the blogging world and what it has brought you. I’ve loved this series, Ellen. You are right about never knowing what tomorrow will bring. I’m sorry about your neighbor’s burden.

  7. I enjoyed this post very much. Every one of your hats has an interesting story, especially the one about the cookbook. I’m sorry about your neighbor. You are good to remind us all to cherish those we love.

  8. So many wonderful and most interesting hats, it was a pleasure to learn more about you. Such sad new about your neighbour, you are so right we certainly don’t know what each day will bring. Take care.

  9. Ellen this was so interesting! I had read some your posts and gone to your link about the cookbook, but didn’t realize that you all got to know each other through blogging! That’s wonderful. Loved reading this! How great that there is going to be a play — and what a wonderful place for it to debut (we just loved our stay in that area when we were full-timing).

    Enjoyed all of your other hats as well … every one of your hats is part of your full and rich and fun life (even the temporary one you were glad to get rid of ). (We too have learned a lot from doing work we’re glad we don’t have to do anymore — mostly while Bill was in college as well — and those jobs make for some funny memories and funny stories.)

  10. That’s a lot of great hats. Love that the book royalties go to a good cause. Looking at the photo of all of you dressed up, I wondered how you got matching dresses, and then realized you are all wearing such pretty aprons. 🙂 Healing wishes for your neighbor, Pat.

  11. You have worn a lot of hats, but you have worn them well! I am glad that you wear a blogging hat and that we have come to meet in blogland. Your author hat must have been especially unexpected, but what a great achievement for you all. I hope that all will be as well as it can be for your neighbour. Thank you for taking part in Five On Friday, I hope you have a good weekend!

  12. What a nice variety of hats! When I first started joining in the FFF, I remember you and Willow talking about your walks. It was neat to read a bit of the history of Mennonite Girls Can Cook. I knew you contributed to their recipes but didn’t know how it all came about. Congratulations on the success of it!

  13. It’s lovely to get to know you and your life. Such a busy one. How great that you got together and created a cookbook Some achievement. B xx

  14. I love all your ‘hats’, Ellen … but my favorite is the ‘hat’ you put on that allowed you and me to become ‘friends ‘n more’!!! great post about your interesting hats.

  15. It was so nice to learn more about you, Ellen. I feel good that, like your mother-in-law did for you, I am helping my daughter while she works as her husband grows his business. We help the next generation be successful, and God bless your MIL for taking care of 3 young children! I’m exhausted most evenings after caring for just my 3 year old Granddaughter!

    You were wise to homeschool your daughter those years. My daughter went through a similar experience at age 9. It seems to eb a common occurrence in my girls. I had to take a leave of absence from work for a few months to help her go to school and get over her anxieties.

    I also read Willow’s blog and enjoy her as a blog friend although we never met. I know how much fun it is to have a walking pal. I walked with two dear Brooklyn friends almost every weekday morning for 15 plus years. Sadly, one friend passed away from ovarian cancer a year ago. She led such a healthy life so it was even more of a shock. We truly never know when we will be called home.

    I am looking forward to “Bread For the Journey”! I saw Lovella’s post about it on fb.

  16. Those hats have all enriched your life in different ways. I liked reading about the ones that were new to me!

  17. What a great post…explaining all the different hats. So glad we have been wearing the same hat these past years…working in the same team!

  18. I’ve enjoyed reading about your interesting life and learning more about you. Family and friends have played a big part on your journey and continue to be a blessing I know.

  19. oh i loved reading your post amd getting to “know” you a bit more! im so glad things worked out for your beautiful daughter regarding her schooling. I am not a soccer fan but several kindergarten students i work with are on a local team. it is fun to see them play.

    happy weekend!

  20. This is such a lovely post! You have worn such a lot of hats and that is great news about your daughter. I wish you the very best of luck with your cookbook(s) xx

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