Mid August Fun

Our grands were dropped off last Thursday for some time at Gramps and Baba’s.

The new dollar store water blasters were broken in.

Hunting for hidden marbles is always fun.

Big Wheels in the backyard…

…and Big Wheels in the front yard.

Inside fun consisted of washing dishes (tupperware), working on a craft and building with Construx. All too soon it was time for them to be picked up for home and lunch. Hope they were still hungry after all the snacks they had at Babas.

It was fun to see this photo of our ‘Coast kids’ enjoying time together at the Seattle Sounders game on Sunday night. Too bad the Sounders lost. Thank you Laura for taking this photo!!

We are in another hot pattern here with the high predicted over 100 on Thursday. Watering in the early hours will have to be the norm for a while longer. Hope this new week is going well in your corner.

A Quartet of Sisters Hodgepodge

It’s Wednesday and time for the Hodgepodge questions this first week in August! Thank you to Joyce From This Side of the Pond!

1. Do you have a sister? Tell us something about her. If you don’t have a sister, tell us about a friend who has been like a sister. Or tell us about a sister-in-law if you have one who is extra special. 

I have 3 sisters and 4 brothers. My sister-in-laws are extra special, too. The photo above is of us sisters in age order, youngest on the left and oldest on the right.

My oldest sister Kathy is a gifted teacher. Vera has the gift of hospitality. Lana is an amazing organizer. We all challenge each other to follow Jesus closely. We all sing and have sung in choirs, trios, duets or in a ‘rock’ band. We all can cook for a crowd.

2. Resister, assister, insister, persister…choose one of the words listed and explain how it relates to you and your life lately. 

Right now since I’m working on dropping unwanted pounds I would say I’m a resister. It’s interesting what a great resister I am in the morning up until about 3pm and then it gets tougher for me to resist so I switch to insister, telling my brain I do not need to have this or that as it will derail my plan. I’m working on some healthier eating habits, too. I want to be able to walk in England in September without huffing and puffing and sweating more than I need to because of excess weight.

3. Share a favorite song, book, movie, or television program that features sisters.

How timely as we pulled out BBC version of Pride and Prejudice on Monday evening and are watching all the episodes again with the 5 sisters who are all quite different from each other.

4. August 3rd is national watermelon day…are you a fan? ~ Yes

Do you like watermelon flavored candy?  NO

Besides eating the melon as is, do you have a good recipe made with watermelon? 

This Watermelon Cucumber Salad is perfect for a summer get together.

5. ‘Tis August…what are three things you’re looking forward to this month.

Our Coast kids are hopping over for a long weekend visit, Addy starts soccer this month so I’ll enjoy watching on the sidelines, and I’ll be helping a little with Vacation Bible School.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I’m making this dessert again this week for a dinner we are having here on Saturday evening. It has a few steps but is pretty easy to make. It’s a dessert you can make a few days ahead. I think it would easily serve 10-12 people. I’ll give you the link so you can see how much prettier you can make it look with whip cream and fresh strawberries on top. I only used a large carton of good Strawberry Ice Cream. My carton was not 1/2 gallon so my version is not as tall as the showstopper…

I used vanilla wafers and regular Strawberry Ice Cream.

To see the showstopper version of this cake and get the recipe click below!

You can find the recipe here.

It’s called Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Cake because she used Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream. I call mine Strawberry Ice Cream Cake since I didn’t find the shortcake version of ice cream to use. It is not overly sweet. Hopefully I’ll remember to take a photo of the cake decorated with whipped cream and Strawberries on Saturday.

Firewood 2022

We drove to a remote part of the Colville National Forest to find a spot to fell some trees for our kids’ wood supply.

To clarify and answer some questions: There is a usual $30 permit fee you need to obtain to cut down trees in the forest. The last 2 years the fee was waved. These are standing dead trees that you can cut. They require you to cut your lengths to 7-1/2 feet so that you aren’t processing lumber, as such, but using the wood for heating purposes.

It was a new adventure for four of us. Dear and Dan have done this a few times.

All the proper gear was loaded in the trucks. We were far enough away that the grands really didn’t need their ear protection.

Keeping a good distance away from the location that the trees would fall upon.

Timber!

Chaps and gloves and ear protection are all important along with common sense.

Bear spray, fire extinguishers and other safety equipment were loaded, if needed.

The first sections ready to load at about 7-1/2 feet. Smaller rounds will be cut at home.

Addy was not happy about all the Dear Flies, none of us were! They were annoying for sure.

A little time in the shade.

These two persevered for the 4 hours or so out in the wilderness with entertainment from their own imaginations. There were lots of snacks and water, too. On the way home after singing a few rounds of ‘I’ve been working on the Railroad’ they both fell asleep and had a nice little nap but once home they were raring to go!

JJ found his tractor and trailer and was ready to haul some wood if needed.

The two old folk stopped on the way home for a quick bite to eat and then went home for a cool shower and to put their feet up! We are thankful that we can be a help to our kids when needed.

Time Well Spent

Uncle Joshie and Auntie Lolo arrived late on Thursday night for a few days in our neck of the woods. When they arrived after being delayed by roadworks on Highway 395 between Chewelah and Arden we chatted for a while then hit the sack for a full day of fun on Friday.

Auntie Lolo took most of these photos, by the way.  Thank you, Laura!

The 8 of us gathered on Friday morning for breakfast at our country bungalow. Katie and Andrew were stuck on the westside and not with us all for this gathering. After breakfast on Friday, Josh and Dan headed out to golf, Dear worked on some much needed  maintenance on the lawnmower and the girls and JJ met up to walk on the Rotary trail.

It was sunny and hot and humid and we persevered.

After our walk and golfing and naps everyone gathered again at our country bungalow for dinner and fun until bedtime for our grands. For dinner we made Chili Verde which had some great spice depth with sides of rice, veggies, corn and flour tortillas.

The grands showed off their skills on the Big Wheels.

Bedtime came as usual and the grands and their parents headed home for the evening. A full good day for us all.

On Saturday duty called and Josh and Laura headed to our local kids mountain for the day while Dear and I worked on the lawn after a few days of delay because of rain.

I mowed the front and back lawns and Dear weed wacked.

The kids went to the Farmer’s Market, played pickle ball and worked on dinner for all of us.

After our delicious meal on our kids mountain we opted for a walk down the driveway.

 

A great spot for a selfie before we tried to beat the mosquito bites on the way back up the driveway!

On Sunday we all gathered at church and then enjoyed lunch out before Josh and Laura headed to the airport and home. One of the highlights of our church morning was that JJ was willing to go into his Sunday School class with no regrets or resistance so mommy could attend the service in peace. Addy has been willing and happy to attend Sunday School for a while now.

Hope you all had a good weekend. We are grateful for the good times we spent together this weekend.

Reunited and Celebrating

Our dear grandchildren are back in our neck of the woods and we were able to enjoy a meal together at our home on Friday evening June 17th. After the meal JJ and Addy were keen on preparing me another meal in their play room. JJ prepared the crab for me while Addy put together a sandwich.

Later we headed outside for some time enjoying the latest skills these two have developed on their Big Wheels.

In the same week our kids on the Coast enjoyed a meal out together and sent us this picture. Love seeing them together.

On Father’s Day we received texts with photos and Happy Father’s Day greetings from all our kids and grands.

We enjoyed a Taco bar meal together in Colville with extended family. These two fathers were celebrated.

So happy these 4 are back home in our neck of the woods.

Happy First Day of Summer. We are supposed to enjoy some sunshine the rest of the is week instead of the cloudy rainy days we’ve had up to now! How goes it in your neck of the woods?

Sister Day

On Monday June 13th (my last full day in Southern California) our sister Kathy drove out to Huntington Beach to spend the afternoon and evening with us. We went for lunch to Summer House in Corona Del Mar. When we finally got our food it was very good. We didn’t realize they were having a ‘soft opening’ after being closed for renovations. A brand new cook and only one cook and other new staff people who were all very pleasant but it took over an hour for our food to reach our table. Good thing we weren’t on a lunch break. We were on a leisurely outing. From there we hopped over to Roger’s Gardens in Corona Del Mar.

The succulent wall gardens were amazing.

We looked at all the beautiful hanging baskets and pots filled with flowers that were amazing and very expensive. The individual plant starts that you could buy were comparable in price to what I’ve seen at Wal-Mart this year.

These hanging succulent baskets were very cute.

After the gardens, on the way back to Vera’s, we stopped at 85degrees, an Asian bakery with lots of goodies. Vera was making dinner for us and I wanted to contribute the dessert. So many beautiful desserts to choose from.

Back at Vera’s bungalow she started on dinner and Kathy and I relaxed enjoying the aroma of onions and garlic and someone cooking a meal for us. Our youngest sister, Lana, arrived home from work and all the sisters enjoyed the evening meal together. Vera’s daughter-in-love joined us, too. It was good to be together.

Vera made a ‘shepherd’s pie type dish’ using ground beef, zucchini and crushed tomatoes and for the topping instead of mashed potatoes she substituted mashed cauliflower. It was very good and I suppose lower in carbs. We made up for those carbs in our dessert.

Here are the desserts we enjoyed, a chocolate cookie cream loaf and a strawberry cream tiramisu. Light and tasty.

It’s not very often that all four of ‘the sisters’ are all together in one place so we had to take the obligatory sister shots. Kristin was our photographer.

Lana, the youngest, me, Vera, and our oldest sister Kathy. A seventeen year span between the oldest and youngest. An 12 year span between me and our sister Lana.

Lana lives in Texas as of a month ago, I live in the state of Washington, Vera and Kathy live in Southern California about 20 miles from each other. Kathy lives about twelve miles from where we all grew up.

This was one week ago already. The laundry from my trip is done. I’ve mowed the lawn. I pulled a few weeds. We had our Colville kids over for a meal. Life is back to ‘normal’ here in the country.

Memorial and Reunions

Saturday morning June 11th was our friend Alice’s Memorial service in Whittier, California.

Her daughter Svetlana read the eulogy.

Our childhood friend Natalie is musically talented along with her husband and sons and they sang a favorite song of Alice’s, One Day at a Time Sweet Jesus. This is Natalie, her sons, and her husband is in the background on the keyboard.

We were able to take home Alice’s memoir of her escape from China. Alice’s father was Chinese and her mother was Russian.

Alice is on the left and her older sister on the right.

These are the last two paragraphs in Alice’s story of her escape and journey that eventually brought her to the United States. Her story is one of miracles traveling through China to Shanghai and then being able to sail on an American ship to the Philippines.  From there after a few years, her mother, older sister and Alice were finally able to immigrate to the U.S.A. and they landed in San Francisco in January of 1951. Alice was twelve when they arrived in San Francisco.

Five of my brothers and sisters were also at the Memorial and we took some photos together.

It was good to see so many old friends at the Memorial and to catch up on each other’s life events. It was good to great Alice’s kids, nephews, nieces and extended family and old family friends, church friends, and high school friends.

Later that evening some of us gathered at our niece’s home in Huntington Beach for a meal and more time catching up with each other.

 

Three of the four sisters and our friend Heidi with our youngest brother photo bombing.

A good but draining day. My time has been full here in Southern California with more get togethers to come.

Cali Day One

On Thursday we got up at O’dark’thirty and drove south to the Spokane airport for my trip to Southern California. It was a two leg journey for me. First leg from Spokane to Seattle which is a quick hour up and down trip with not much in the world of perks. The second leg was from Seattle to Orange County (John Wayne Airport also known as Santa Ana Airport). The airport is in the city of Santa Ana which is in the county of Orange.

I’m now in the land of Palm Trees but the sun and blue skies are not breaking through the June Gloom here.

My youngest sister works in a high rise that’s close enough to the airport to see the planes landing and she captured my plane as it came in for a landing. She was looking out for it since she would be picking me up from the airport.

Thankful for another safe landing.

Three of us ‘sisters’ enjoyed dinner out at the Black Trumpet in Huntington Beach before retiring for the evening.

The French Onion Soup was delicious and I’m sorry I didn’t take a photo before I destroyed the top of it!

Today (Friday) my sister Vera and I will have a walk along the Pacific Ocean. June Gloom is still happening here so I’m not sure what photos I’ll be snapping.

Our brother from Texas arrives tonight.

Saturday will be a day filled with many reunions with friends and family as we celebrate the life of our friend Alice.

Our daughter Katie with Alice at Katie’s bridal shower.

Our mom and our life long friend Alice. They are both in heaven now.

Sons and Daughters Hodgepodge

Jo From This Side of the Pond is taking time out of her busy schedule to come up with questions for Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you Jo!

1. “A daughter’s a daughter all her life, but a son’s a son til he takes a wife.” What say you? Elaborate.

Thankfully we have daughters in law who aren’t threatened by our sons continuing a good relationship with us. We are thankful for our sons who protect their wives and give them the stability and love that makes for a strong enough relationship so they don’t have to be threatened. As parents we can give them the space to grow in their relationships and not demand undue attention from them.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

We are also so thankful for our son-in-law who loves our daughter and cares for her well.

We are thankful for each one of our children in their uniqueness and for each of our children-in-law/love who compliment each other well.

2. Something you’ve seen recently that was ‘cuter than a June bug’

Love the photos via texts we get of our kids and grandkids having fun and being cuter than a June bug…

3. ‘You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy ice cream and that’s pretty much the same thing.’ Agree or disagree?

I have lots of happy memories of ice cream growing up. Our Pop would stop at 31 Flavors when we were all in the car after church or somewhere else and he’d treat us to a 2 scoop cone. I would choose chocolate chip and orange sherbet. This always made me happy. One of my brothers always ordered vanilla.

Later in life I’d enjoy a good scoopage of chocolate ice cream in a glass add milk and enjoy it to the last drop.

And then there was the delicious concept of cooking up vanilla pudding and while it was hot pouring a good amount of pudding over a bowl of Chocolate Ice Cream. Don’t knock it till you try it. 🙂

Last time you had a serving of happiness ice cream?  Dish-cone-milkshake-sundae…which one do you choose? 

Sadly Ice cream doesn’t sit well with my digestive system these days. If I could, I’d pick a dish of Jamoca Almond Fudge, Vanilla Swiss Almond, or just plain old chocolate.

4. What is one way/area in which you’re currently ‘swimming against the tide‘? 

Hate to bring it up but I’m in the process of losing the same 10 pounds I’ve been losing and gaining these last several years. Hopefully this time around I’ll go beyond the 10 and lose another 10. The good news is that I’m just shy of the first 10 pounds and things are fitting better already.

Speaking of swimming our little 5 year old grand is learning to swim and has abandoned her life vest. Great job Addy!

5. Three things you’re looking forward to this summer?

Enjoying summer fruit like nectarines and peaches.

Spending as much time as possible with our kids and grands.

Entertaining visitors.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

It was wonderful to see all the celebrations for the Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee!

Cousins!

Wednesday Hodgepodge is not happening this week but will be back next week.

Our sons and their families enjoyed part and all of the Memorial Day Weekend in Arizona with their cousins.

Our kids and two of my sister’s kids gathered for their annual Memorial Day Weekend in Arizona. What a delight to see them all together enjoying one another. Our kids from Washington State and nieces and nephews from California.

The grands and their parents were able to drop in for a day and surprise everyone! They had responsibilities elsewhere for the rest of the weekend. Addy and JJ were so pleased to see their beloved Auntie Lolo, Uncle Joshie and their other ‘cousins once removed’.

It’s fun to document these special times and add it to our family history.

“Stay together, Love each other” Their Dzeda (grandfather) left them with that encouragement and they are doing a good job listening.