Sycamore Hike ~ Walking Club Totals


When we got to the Sycamore Canyon Campground Parking at 7:15 the gate was still locked. Hmmm see the sign that says gate open 7am – 10pm? The attendant finally arrived at 7:30 to open the gate…


We stayed on the main trail today and saw a few joggers and several groups of cyclists.


The trees are really interesting in this canyon.


The shrubs were blooming nicely. It was gloomy with a thick high marine layer.


These purple wildflowers deserved a photograph.


Spring is a great time to do this hike because of all the pretty blooms.


We even happened on some California Poppies.


Some of our old and new favorites. The wild fennel is an old favorite of ours. We love using fennel in cooking and the smell when we rub it between our hands is licorice wonderful. The coreopsis is such a interesting plant the way it grows on that stalk. In the Spring it’s all over the hillsides. The one downside to our hike today were the mosquitos! They were out in droves. Anyone know of an Avon distributor so I can order some Skin-so-soft?


This looks like a parrot to me.


At the end of the hike we strolled over to see the high surf.

My walking total steps for the week averaged out to 10,152.

I’m going to keep on walking. How about you?

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage and they have blacked them all out. I’m slowly working at restoring my posts without their help. Such a tiresome bother!

One Misty Moisty Morning ~ Ладушки, Ладушки

On mornings like today this old Mother Goose nursery rhyme pops into my head and I say it again and say it again and say it again and again…

One misty moisty morning,
When cloudy was the weather,
I chanced to meet an old man,
Clothed all in leather.
He began to compliment
And I began to grin.
How do you do? And how do you do?
And how do you do again?

When I was a school teacher we had a training session on how important nursery rhymes were to a child’s language development and future reading skills. So take that baby on your knee and have fun with all the nursery rhymes out there. Sing them instead of just saying them. I remember bouncing my kids on my knee with this one, too.

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes

There’s also a rhyme we would repeat in Russian that goes something like this…

Ладушки, ладушки
Clapping Song
Ладушки, ладушки
Где были?
У бабушки!
Что ели?
Что пили?
Кашка масленька
Бражка сладенька
Бабушка добренька!
The loose translation into English
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake,
Where were you?
At granny’s!
What did you eat?
What did you drink?
A little home-brewed beer**
The porridge is buttered,
The home-brewed beer is sweet,
Granny is kind!
The version we sang was a bit different at the end. I’ll need to talk to my mom today and update how we ended this rhyme.
*In Russia porridge is very famous, it can be made from wheat (millet), oatmeal, buckwheat, rice, fine-ground barley, etc.**This probably means kvas, a Russian home-brewed non-alcoholic drink, or it means that Granny gave the children some beer to try, she indulged her grandchildren. (and actually if it sits long enough Kvas turns into an alcohol drink)
I updated this post with photos from our trip to Banbury, England in July of 2014.
ht: Mama Lisa’s World for the Russian Rhyme.

Sky Watch


You can glimpse the clouds and the Puget Sound through my friends trellis in her garden. This was taken on Easter Day in Edmonds, Washington.

For more Sky Watch Photos head across the pond to Wiggers World.

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage and they have blacked them all out. I’m slowly working at restoring my posts without their help. Such a tiresome bother!

ABC Wednesday ~ K is for

 K is for Katie


K is for our Katie. Katherine on her birth certificate.


Our Katie has an amazing amount of knowledge stored in her brain and I will show you some photos that might explain where some of that knowledge comes from.


At a very young age if Katie went missing this is where you would find her.


She was most drawn to books with words, not picture books. We had a few old school reading books and these are the ones she’d pull off the shelf and carefully go through.


As you can see she did not have a shortage of toys but she always seemed to go for the books.


We didn’t realize how well she could read until a trip to Meadowdale Beach Park with our friends the Spiro’s. Jody was walking hand in hand with Katie when they came to the tunnel under the railroad tracks that took you to the beach side of the park. As they approached this tunnel with this sign Katie said quite clearly to  my friend Jody, “Caution Low Head Clearance”


We realized then that we had a little 4 year old who definitely knew how to read. Who knows how much she was reading without us knowing before this experience.

Well this is all about Katie so for my last photo to throw in another “K” word, here’s Katie in a Kilt that I bought in Scotland in 1973! It fit me once too 🙂

For more ABC Wednesday take a trip across the pond to Mrs. Nesbitt’s.

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage and they have blacked them all out. I’m slowly working at restoring my posts without their help. Such a tiresome bother!

Sycamore Canyon Hike ~ Walking Club Totals

So Dear and I decided we’d stray from our usual beach walk at Emma Wood and we headed to the Santa Monica Mountains. We decided on Big Sycamore Canyon starting at Point Mugu State Park. Here are some of our breathtaking views!


We picked the Scenic Trail to the Overlook Fire Road. Besides the gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains we were very excited to spot one of these…


This is a Chocolate Lily (Fritillaria biflora Lindl.) Lily Family. LILIACEAE

Chocolate Lily is local on clay slopes, often under shrubs and blooms from February to April. This has been called the Cleopatra of the Fritillaries – darkest and the loveliest. It is our only species, although there are 16 California natives in this genus. We were first introduced to a Fritillaria in Oxford, England on Addison’s Walk. We were there in April and there was a field of blooming Fritillaries.

We did enjoy our hike and we will return again. I’ll show more photos of our hike later in the week and add another wildflower post for Wildflowers in Winter.

But now to my step totals for 6 days this week for Lovella’s Walking Club. My average was good again at 11,283.

We’re headed off to Orange County now for  my older sister’s Leap Year Birthday Celebration with the family. Have a great weekend and keep on walking…

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage. I’m working on updating my blog posts very slowly.

The Ultimate Blog Party ~ March 7th – 14th


Ultimate Blog Party 2008


Welcome to my Blog Party. You have arrived at The Happy Wonderer.  I’m ellen b and I’m so happy to welcome you here. I’ve made a cake for the occassion and I’m sharing the recipe with you. My birthday is March 14th so this is a great week for a party around here. I would like to give you a taste of what my blog is like. I’m posting some regular kind of things you’ll see if you come back to visit. So relax and enjoy as you scroll on down…

Applesauce Spice Cake

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 pkg. 4 serving size jello instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1 cup applesauce
1/2 C. water
1/4 C. oil
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. all-spice (optional)
1/2 raisins finely chopped (optional)

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl of electric mixer and blend then beat at medium for 4 minutes. Pour into well greased and floured 10 inch tube or fluted tube pan. (I’ve used a bundt cake pan and angel food cake pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. DO NOT UNDERBAKE. Cool in pan for 15 min. remove and cool on rack. When the cake has cooled and before I serve it I give it a dusting of powdered sugar.

This goes really well with whipped cream or a good vanilla ice cream, too. This has become a favorite in my house and is requested for birthday cakes very often.

I like to share my recipes and I really enjoy inviting table settings like these…


Special times with family and friends are shared on my blog as well.

I enjoy walking and I share photos from these walks and I’m part of a Bloggy Walking Club. The bloggers who participate keep track of their average steps for a 5-6 day period each week and share their totals. My husband who I call “Dear” on this blog and I walk most every Saturday at Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura, California.


I’m also a Brown Plate Special participant which is a sensible challenge for some of us older bloggers to eat smaller quantities and add more activity in our lives and be accountable to each other.

I participate in a few weekly blog carnivals like ABC Wednesday, Word Filled Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday, Thankful Thursday, Sky Watch Fridays and Photo Hunters. I post a Hymn or Worship song on Sunday. Sometimes during the week I’ll share a devotional or a quote from a book I’m reading.

A fun experience I’ve had since I started blogging is meeting a fellow blogger who lives in the same city as me. After meeting we decided to walk together. We try to walk every weekday which has been great. Here’s a photo from the day we met at a local Coffee shop in town.


This is Willow from Willow’s Cottage. I’m the brunette (I think brunette sounds so much better than I’m the old lady on the right with brown hair)

I will also share photos from travels here in the states and abroad.



My sister Lana and I started blogging about the same time. We talk most everyday (mostly about our blogs). It’s fun to have a bosom bloggy buddy who doesn’t get tired of “blog talk”. We laugh all the time. Her blog is called Above the Clouds because she travels weekly by air.

I post a lot,  at least one post a day sometimes 2 to 3 posts a day on bloggy carnival days.

I choose for my blog be an encouraging blog and to honor the Lord so you generally will not hear me ranting and you will not find bad language and things that I find objectionable to my heart and mind here.

Whew! My posts are not this long generally unless it’s all photos (Did I say I’m visual and love photos!?)

Thanks so much for visiting and I hope you come again. Blessings on you…

You can see more blogs that are participating in the party at 5 minutes for Mom. I’ll add the link when they have it up later tonight. Well as soon as 5MFM fixes their site you can click and get there we all crashed it I think. For now you can google Ultimate Blog Party and find some sites!

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage. I’m working on updating my blog posts very slowly.