Twas a Few Nights Before Christmas…

…and a variety of activities are stirring in and out of houses. No sitting on Santa’s lap this year for photos but Santa flew into the Colville airport to hand out gifts to kids. Our grands were there on Saturday morning.

Also on Saturday Dear and our son Dan started installing the siding on the back side of the shop. Earlier in the week Dear installed the back pull up door.

I missed getting outside to get the final photo. They have 3 panels left to go on this side and all the siding will be done. We are so thankful for the help!

Our daughter in law sent us these next photos of Addy and JJ enjoying each other on Sunday. Sibling times like these make our hearts glad!

We had a good trip to Spokane yesterday and found all the things on our list and more.

One of our stops was at the Kiev Market where we load up our freezer with Pelemeni, a family favorite that I’d rather buy than make. While there we bought these lovely Piroshky, two cabbage and one cheese…delicious.

At Costco we filled up our cart with other goodies, some necessaries and a few un-necessaries. I was going to go into TJMaxx but the people line-up outside the store because of “you know what” wasn’t appealing to me and we carried on. Our refrigerators and freezers are full now so no more shopping until after Christmas!

Way down south in California my family was having their annual Christmas Vareniki making day. Vareniki are a Russian treat we’ve enjoyed at Christmas for many years. This year the crew included my two older sisters, one sister-in-law, 4 of our nieces and one grandniece. My mom would be so proud of them all!

My oldest sister Kathy with the finished product which is first boiled and then ready to freeze and then bake in half and half and butter on Christmas Eve. Our family tradition is to stuff these dumplings with a sweet cheese mixture and serve them as a dessert or for breakfast in place of pancakes. We serve them with a dollop of sour cream and maple syrup.

Pierogi and vareniki are actually the same thing. Again, stuffed dumplings, they are common throughout Central and Eastern Europe and most of the old Eastern Bloc states. While vareniki is the more commonly used term in Russia, pierogi are the national dish of Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia.

Today I’ll continue on some cleaning and cooking up some things I can make ahead for all the Christmas meals.

I forgot to mention that for the next two weeks the Thursday Bible Verse Challenge will not be happening. We will resume the challenge the first Thursday in January, January 7th on the letter O.

Happiest Place on Earth Hodgepodge

Three of our nieces, our son Josh and daughter in love, Laura at Disneyland in January of 2020 before the lockdowns. Happy Birthday Mickey!
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1. It’s Mickey Mouse’s birthday (November 18)…happy birthday Mickey! He reads here, right? Have you ever been to Disney, any of the parks at all?
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Yes, I’ve been to Disneyland in Anaheim. I was there shortly after it opened in 1955. I was there with my whole 9th grade class for a graduation from Junior High excursion. Went there on school busses. That would have been in 1965. I still have part of a ticket book from when rides were classified as A,B,C,D,E.  The E ticket was for the best rides and where the saying “e ticket”, the ultimate of thrills, came from.
Dear and I were there before we were married.
We took our kids there in the 80’s and 90’s and they’ve gone on their own now that they are adults.
I’ve also gone a couple times on my own with my extended family as an adult.
1986 with our two sons and Katie was a wee babe and slept a lot on this Disneyland adventure.
1995 Me with my sisters, our mom, my nieces and daughter, Katie.
2009 with our niece and grandnephew.
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Are you a Disney superfan or something less than that?
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I’m a fan of all the great memories but not a superfan.
Some of these loved ones are superfans!
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They’re open right now so tell us, would you go if you had the time/money/a free trip?
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I wouldn’t go until the mask mandates were lifted. Once that happens (please Lord) we’d love to experience Disneyland with our grandchildren. We were actually planning a trip to Disneyland for March of 2021 but we have cancelled those plans.
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2. Your favorite place to go when you want to be quiet as a church mouse?
Anywhere that there is no artificial noise.
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Would those who know you well describe you as more church mouse or perhaps more like mighty mouse?
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“Here I come to save the day, that means that Mighty Mouse is on the way…”
I’m neither a church mouse or a mighty mouse. Somewhere in between. I have had my “mighty mouse” moments in protecting my loved ones through the years.
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3. The day before Mickey’s birthday happens to be National Homemade Bread Day. Did/will you celebrate? Do you bake your own bread? Last time you had hot out-of-the-oven homemade bread? What’s your favorite kind of bread?
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I love good fresh bread of any variety. Last night we were at our Colville kids’ home and we enjoyed fresh rolls and the Instant Pot potato soup our daughter in law made. Both the rolls and the soup were delicious.
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4. What’s something you might say is ‘the greatest thing since sliced bread‘?
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I know I’m going to be saying “why didn’t I think of that?” when I read your answers. For now I’m going with remote controls. I do remember when we had to get up and go to the TV to change channels. Mind you there were only a very few channels back then.
And Dear just said, “how about luggage with wheels”?
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5. Let’s keep the gratitude theme we started last week rolling on through November. Share with us five little things you’re grateful for today. Small blessings. One catch-they all must start with the letter T. Gotta keep us thinking, right?
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Time with my family and friends.
Tall people at the grocery store when I need something at the back of the top shelf.
Trees, tall trees, tiny trees, trees that I can see from my windows.
Towels, large fluffy (but not too fluffy) and absorbent.
Texts. I didn’t used to text but now I really am a fan for keeping in touch with loved ones, especially when they are on the road.
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6. Insert your own random thought here.
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We made a last minute trip to Spokane yesterday for some electrical supplies Dear needs and we made stops at Costco, Home Depot, Hobby Lobby and At Home. We were relieved to see that people weren’t panic shopping because of the current mandates. We were even able to buy some Bleach wipes that were in stock but going fast.
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Thank you to Jo From This Side of the Pond for asking the questions!

Friday Finale

While I was back in Colville recuperating from my solo drive home from the “Coast” it was Russian cooking day in Bothell. (October 9th, 2020)

The gals had fun cooking up a big pot of Borsch and making Blintzes in sister Lana’s kitchen.

Later in the evening the crew gathered for this classic Russian meal at Steve and Lana’s.

The night before was Italian night at Josh and Laura’s and these family shots were taken.

The oldest in our family and the youngest, twins.

Our Father’s dying wish…“Stay together, love each other.”

Sweet Hodgepodge

Sweet Southern livin Jo has come up with questions for Wednesday Hodgepodge.
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1. Let’s start things off right…Wednesday is National Dessert Day. What are we having? How often do you  make/serve dessert? Store bought or from scratch?
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We can have my signature Creamy Cheesecake, pictured above…
or a family favorite; Peanut Butter/Butterscotch Rice Krispy bars
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or in the cake realm; Another family favorite, Applesauce Spice Cake.
We added a new favorite in 2020, Strawberry Ice Cream Cake.
Lately I only make a dessert when we are having company. I made this Ice Cream Cake yesterday for dessert after our Raclette meal that we introduced to my brother’s family.
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I like scratch desserts but am not opposed to store bought. In fact see question #3 for something I always buy instead of bake.
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2. Slow as molasses, icing on the cake, that’s the way the cookie crumbles, have your cake and eat it too, half-baked idea, that takes the cake…which phrase might be applied to something in your life in recent days? Explain.
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I’m going with icing on the cake. Since my brother’s family (originally from Texas) landed in the Pacific Northwest on their RV journeys around the USA some other members of our family gathered here, too, and we were able to have a mini family reunion of sorts.

My sister Kathy sitting to my left is now our matriarch. Four out of 8 siblings plus two spouses and eleven cousins rounded out the group for a few days of food and fun.

3. Something that’s ‘easy as pie’ for you to do?

Sticking with the pie theme here I’m confessing that making pie is not in my wheelhouse. It is not something easy for me and I choose to avoid it by buying good quality pies in the frozen section of the grocery store and popping them in my oven! So ‘easy as pie’ is not a phrase that pertains to me.

4. Are you someone who likes to ‘sugarcoat’ news you think might not be well received, or are you more of a tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may? Do you like to receive your news the same way you give it?

Please don’t sugar coat it. Get it out now and let me know what’s up! I’m a tell it like it is person. Don’t beat around the bush, either.

5. Something you did recently that made you feel like a ‘smart cookie’?

Driving for over 6 hours by myself from Bothell to Colville with stops at the Home Depot and Costco in Spokane. I was smart to bring a book on CD to listen to. That makes the hours go by quicker for me and keeps me awake. For this trip I listened to “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe read by Michael York, delightful.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

 

Looking forward to our Western Larches (Tamarack) to turn golden.

October is a busy busy month here at Our Country Bungalow. Still ahead is our annual family hunting weekend and this year we are throwing in our first professional family photo shoot. It’s been fun coming up with a clothing theme so we look a bit coordinated. For the majority of the days in October all of our guestrooms are full to the brim.

Market Day

On Tuesday some of the crew had a shopping day in Woodinville and then we re-grouped with a couple carloads going downtown on the way to deliver Melissa to the airport. She had to fly home on Tuesday for work responsibilities.

My sister Kathy and I stayed behind. We picked up Katie who was done with her workday and enjoyed lunch together at La Corona our favorite Mexican joint on the west side of the Cascades. Sadly because of COVID our favorite waitress only gets 3 days of work and Tuesday was not her day. After lunch we shopped for some dinner items and headed back to Josh and Laura’s to relax before we started cooking dinner. Taco night with pies for dessert.

A very random shot of the clean up after dinner.

On Tuesday night I was feeling under the weather so I made the decision to stay away from the rest of the family gatherings on Wednesday and planned to drive back home on Thursday morning instead of Friday. Even though I didn’t get the chance to see Liliana at La Corona on Tuesday I was able to see her on Wednesday and it was good to get caught up with her and the owner of La Corona. It’s not an easy time for restaurant owners and their waitstaff.

It was good to see Lily!

Wednesday was pumpkin patch day for the rest of the crew.

Are you going to a Pumpkin Patch this year and do you have a Corn Maze near you?

Back in Colville we had our first good frost and this week is bringing more freezing temps so we’ve disconnected all our hoses, closed the crawl space vents, and rolled up the patio cover cloth. On a dry day I’ll be clearing out all the beds and our burn pile will be stacked and ready for the burn ban to be lifted.

Happy Thanksgiving Day to our Canadian neighbors and Happy Columbus Day here in the USA!

Over the Columbia and Through the Cascades…

…to fa-mi-lies homes we go.

We arrived at sister Lana’s and BIL Steve’s house about 5:30 in the afternoon on Monday the 5th of October where dinner would be delivered by the family crew staying at our son Josh and DIL Laura’s.  My sister Kathy’s family was staying at Josh and Laura’s home. My brother Leonard’s family would be staying at Steve and Lana’s for their time on that side of the mountains. I would be staying with our daughter Katie and her hubby Andrew.

Our crew that drove the 400 miles brought a special cabbage salsa our Daughter in law Jamie made for our meal together. We all enjoyed it with chips as an appetizer. Sadly our Colville kids could not make the trip this time around. Addy was disappointed that I would be seeing Auntie LoLo but she could not. Everyone found a spot to sit and enjoy their chili, cornbread, honey butter, and fruit salad.

This was the beginning of several days packed with activities, meals together and many good conversations.

Family on the Trail

I’m posting some of our gatherings in order of happenings here for the sake of history.

Before we headed to meet up with extended family on the Westside of the mountains we had some good times together in our neck of the woods with my brother’s family who are Wholly Rollin around the USA. On Saturday the 3rd of October we enjoyed breakfast together and after breakfast we hit the Rotary Trail to get some exercise.

We were still experiencing smoky skies this past weekend and the beginning of the week.

Jaymison warmed up to my brother in record time for him.

After naps on Saturday everyone gathered at our place again for dinner.

On Sunday we enjoyed dinner at Dan and Jamie’s and had a tour of their garden.

On Monday morning the kids had their home schooling (History Lesson outside) before we hit the road to the Western side of the Cascades to meet up with more family.

My brother’s family is still on the West side of the Cascades and I’m back home on the Eastside. Hope to catch up with your blogs soon.

California Visitors

We have had some action packed days here at our Country Bungalow. I only took a few of these photos. Thank you to my niece and daughter-in-law for the rest.

Addy really enjoyed her “medium sized” 2nd cousin.

Time to enjoy the flowers and our niece’s family from California.

She loves her Daddy’s cousin, who is Addy’s 1st cousin once removed.

The whole crew for the 2nd dinner at our Country Bungalow.

Addy and Avery.

We changed venues on Friday night and met up at Dan and Jamie’s home. Reyna had lots of love from Avery.

It took 2 days but Ryan finally won Jaymison over and was able to hold him without JJ crying.

The girls enjoyed building towers and JJ enjoyed demolishing the tower!

Yum, whipped cream!

A selfie after picking raspberries in the garden and before the mosquitoes ate them up!

Good food, good fellowship, lots of laughter.

Our family visitors left for the Coast on Saturday morning at 10:00 am with a stop in Oroville on the way to visit friends. They ended up at our Coast Kids’ home sometime on Saturday evening. On Sunday our family on the Coast gathered to enjoy time together with Ryan, Michelle, Jack and Avery. We got a text with this great photo attached.

My sister Lana and her husband, Steve. Michelle, Ryan, Jack and Avery. Our kids, Andrew, Katie, Laura and Josh.

I can guarantee there was lots of good food, laughter and fellowship on the “Coast”, too.

We had some good sunshine today and after church because Dear and our son Dan were starting on the roof of the shop I decided to mow the back acres to keep an eye on them while they were up on ladders. I’ll take my sabbath rest tomorrow. I had nursery duty during church today and it was so weird to have to have a mask on and have disposable gloves on, too. Poor babes…wonder what they were thinking.

Hope you all have a good week ahead.

Tuesdays With Moisi ~ Siblings

On Sunday the first of March my two older sisters and I went to visit our Aunt Anna who lives with her granddaughter close to our sister Kathy. Aunt Anna or Nura will be 95 on April 25th. She was thankful for our time with her and we decided to take this selfie. While there I also took a couple photos with my phone of her framed photos. The quality of the photos is not great since there is glare from the glass in the frames.

This is our Aunt Anna from many years ago with her husband Pete. Uncle Pete died in the late 70’s.

The photo above was taken when Moisi’s brother Mike was able to get a Visa to finally visit in the USA. This was in 1982ish. Uncle Mike is in the center of the photo with the dark jacket on. Uncle Mike spent several years in Siberia after he decided it was safe to return from Iran to Russia in the early 40’s. He was arrested upon entering Russia and sent to Siberia. His sentence was supposed to be for 2 years and ended up being several years. Our Pop and the rest of his family had not seen Uncle Mike for 40 years and this visit was a grand reunion of siblings and our babushka. She is seated with the head covering on. Aunt Anna is above her in the turquoise. Uncle Mike’s wife is seated next to babushka. The rest in the photo are all of Moisi and Nadia’s children and grandchildren as of 1982.

The photo above are siblings and sister-in-laws and a nephew and his wife in the 1990’s. This was a dinner my parents had at their home in Yorba Linda before they sold that home and left for Russia to do missionary work. Going around from left to right.  Nura who was married to Uncle Vasilli, our cousin Vera and Alex, Moisi, Uncle John and his wife Kati, our mom, Uncle Alex and his wife Ouliana, and barely visible Aunt Anna. Aunt Anna and nephew Alex are the only ones who are still alive from this photo.

Moisi and his siblings at our Mom and Pop’s 60th wedding anniversary celebration in 2003. John, Anna, Moisi, and Alex. Anna is the only family member still alive. Of these four siblings John is the oldest, then Alex, our Pop and Anna the youngest.

Aunt Anna has survived all three of her children and one of her granddaughters, too. She talked about the fact that she’s the last one left of her generation of friends and family. She is still as sharp as a tack! My sister Kathy reminded Aunt Anna that her mother (our babushka) lived to be 98 so Aunt Anna might live that long, too.

I’ll be on my way back home this morning. When I get back I’ll post the photos from Vera and my beach walk on Monday. A beautiful day.

Good News from North Carolina

We got some good news from North Carolina on Thursday. Dear’s niece got engaged. We are hoping to be able to travel to the wedding when we get the invite with time and place. We know the wedding will be in North Carolina. The collage above is from Katie and my trip across the U.S. to get her to North Carolina in time for her Marine husband to return from Afghanistan in 2014. We stopped in Asheville for a night and enjoyed a delicious meal on the Sunset Terrace at this hotel.

This is Dear’s older and only brother. I took this photo at our mom’s funeral in 2013. It’s his daughter Kacie who is now engaged to Chris. Terry is married to Christina and they have 3 daughters. Kacie is the youngest of the three.

Our kids just met up with Kacie and her sister Annie in California in January. These four happened to all be in California at the same time and carved out some time to meet up and get caught up. Kacie is standing between Josh and Laura. Our nieces are real beauties.

This is our daughter Katie, Christina (Dear’s SIL) and our oldest niece, Jenna. Jenna, Annie and Kacie are sisters. Christina is married to Dear’s brother, Terry.

Another post to keep me on track of what happened when.