Orange Hill Celebration

On our last full day in our rental home during our DisneyCaliFam Vacation, we spent some time relaxing in the spa in the morning.

When the Minneolas were hanging over the fence onto the property we were staying at, was it okay to pick them? Asking for a friend.

These two shared a muffin treat that was purchased at Disneyland the day before.

During naptime Josh drove some of the gals to Downtown Disney for a little shopping venture. He dropped us off at the Disneyland hotel and then picked us up a couple hours later. We enjoyed walking through the lobby of the hotel to get to the entrance of the shopping area. We had to go through extensive security to get into the area.

The Lego structures at the Lego store were impressive! No Lego purchases on this trip. Everyone made purchases at a couple of the other stores but me.

Josh picked us up where he dropped us off and we went back to get ready for our fancy dinner out at the Orange Hill Restaurant. Did I mention we only had the one vehicle for the twelve of us during our time in Southern California and that Josh was our trusty chauffer back and forth to everywhere?!

The skies were putting on a show of God’s Creation and Glory. The twelve of us arrived in our van at the door of the restaurant in time to further enjoy the sunset and views.

Cheers to our extended family and our three birthday kids, Josh, Dan and Jamie! The Twelve of us enjoyed our food and our time here.

Our grands’ Granny and Granny Great. Granny Great picked up the tab for our drinks. Thank you, Florence!

We’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy! Or in Colville. 🙂 Crispy Whole Snapper above and Half-chicken below.

I had the Short Ribs, and most of the rest of us had the Prime Rib.

The Sticky Toffee Pudding was so good. And the restaurant brought out 3 complimentary desserts for the three birthday kids we were celebrating.

I would have said this was the grand finale of our trip but we ended up having another full day of fun our last day before we flew home.

Fast Forward to the present here in Colville, Washington.

We had another light dusting of snow here on Friday and Saturday. Starting Sunday our highs have been below freezing. So far the predictions say we won’t make it above freezing until Thursday, February 2nd.

These are some of our views from our windows!

We finally enjoyed a full day of sunshine on Sunday with clear skies. Hope your week moving into February is a good one.

Chile Relleno Breakfast Bake

This would be a nice meal to have on New Year’s Day watching the Rose Parade or football games. Serve it with some chunky salsa. I’m cutting the recipe in half and making it to enjoy while watching the Rose Parade today. Interesting fact about the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game, it always happens on January 1st unless January 1st lands on a Sunday. When January 1st lands on a Sunday the parade and game are moved to January 2nd. Today is the day.

Another note of interest is the next time Christmas lands on a Sunday will be 2033. New Year’s Day will be on a Sunday in 2034.

Chili Relleno Breakfast Bake

Ingredients:
4-4oz. cans of whole green chilies
4 cups of shredded Cheddar Jack cheese combination
12 eggs
2 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chunky salsa of your choice (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare 9 x 13 dish by greasing lightly.
Remove and drain the whole green chilies.
Slit the chilies open and lay flat covering the bottom of the dish.
Sprinkle the chilies with the cheese.
Beat the eggs, sour cream, and salt until thoroughly blended.
Pour over cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until center is set.
Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Serve with your favorite salsa.
Yield: 8-10 servings

Enjoy your Monday holiday everyone!

30 Days Hath November Hodgepodge

Here we are at the end of November Hodgepodge. Thank you Joyce From This Side of the Pond!

Our yards have been covered with snow since November the 7th.

1. Sum up your November in ten words or less. 

November had a scary start and a grateful, peaceful end.

2. Are you hosting any holiday parties this year? Attending any? Party pooper, party animal, or life of the party…where do you land when it comes to parties? 

No, we are not hosting any holiday parties this year.

We will be attending our first Christmas Party on Sunday December 4th in Chilliwack, Canada. Hopefully the weather will settle down a bit for our drive to Spokane for our flight on Saturday and then our drive from Bothell to Abbotsford on Sunday. It will be our first time back in Canada since the beginning of ‘you know what’. We are so looking forward to being with the Mennonite Girls Can Cook and their hubbies! We will miss our two girls that live in Manitoba for this event.

The last MGCC party we were able to attend was in early December 2019 and this was one of the amazing desserts we enjoyed at that party.

I’m not a party animal or the life of the party or a party pooper. I do like to decorate for a themed party.

3. Do you purchase holiday clothing of any sort (sparkly tops, Christmas jammies, Santa suit, etc). 

There is a festive holiday top or two in my closet. This year with limited time to shop and limited sources I have nothing new. The old sparklies are too snug for comfort, sigh.

Comfy jammies all the way!

4. What’s your go-to recipe when you’re asked to bring an hors d’oeuvre to a party? 

I like to bring a charcuterie board of some sort. This year I’m trying Charlotte’s Red Pepper Jelly Tarts (Mennonite Girls Can Cook) for a ladies brunch I’m invited to on Thursday.

5. December 3rd is National Play Outside Day…what might you do to celebrate? 

We are flying from Spokane to Seattle that morning and will hopefully celebrate our daughter in law, Laura’s birthday in some way that day or evening.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

In World Cup news, the U.S.A. advances to the round of 16 playing against Netherlands on Saturday. It was a brutal 2nd half but in the end we eliminated Iran and we move on.

Wednesday Morning Update on our overnight snowfall which is still falling this morning:

As of 7am we have 8-1/2 inches of new snow. Our neighbor has already plowed our driveway before she heads into work. We are very grateful for her and her kindness to us. I did hop out in my jammies and Uggs and slipped her some cash for gas!

UPDATE at 11:15 A.M.: We have a total of 11 inches of new snow. PTL Dear is healthy enough to shovel snow!

Lots of cancellations in Colville today because of snow. Happy we can be home and today is baking day for my event on Thursday. Perfect weather to bake!

Homeschool Hodgepodge

Hello Hodgepodgers!

Katie at graduation from the University of Washington.

Joyce From This Side of the Pond has a fresh batch of questions for us this week.

1. What’s something you wish you’d figured out sooner? 

That even though our daughter was very bright (she was reading at age 3) she didn’t need to be in the ‘gifted’ classroom setting. I should have pulled her out of school and homeschooled her sooner in her elementary years. Her early primary teachers didn’t  identify her giftedness and labeled her in some negative ways. In the 3rd grade she was identified as ‘gifted’ and then put in a special program for the 4th-6th grade at a different location than her regular neighborhood school. She was bullied by the other ‘gifted’ girls and it caused un-necessary stress and trauma in her young life. We pulled her out of school in the 4th grade and I homeschooled her until 7th grade. She was ready to go back to the public school setting at that time.

Katie and one of her pet rats. I think it’s Fats but it could be Pinky.

2. Something from childhood you still enjoy today? 

Toast with avocado, lightly salted.

3. Are you a fidgeter?

I can be when I think things are taking longer than they should, especially in waiting rooms.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word fidget? 

Toddlers or kindergarteners in a classroom setting.

4. Your favorite fall vegetable?

Sweet Potatoes/Yams

How do you like it prepared? 

Classic candied with marshmallows on top.

5. What’s something you find mildly annoying, but not annoying enough to actually do anything about? Might you now? 

Having to facilitate events with large groups of people going through buffet lines and beverage areas makes one uber aware of space and the smooth flow of lines of people, etc. There are clueless people who have no conscious idea that they are blocking the process. Groups of people will form a circle of conversation right in front of the beverage area or other areas blocking others from getting to and from those spaces. As annoying as it is I have found that it is what it is and it will always be that way so the only thing I might do is say, ‘could you move your conversation from in front of the beverage area, please’? Mostly, I need to just go with the flow and after I’ve made sure everything is out and available I hide in the kitchen so I don’t have to watch.

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

D is for Dirt. So thankful that our DIL is homeschooling our grands and that they can play outside and get dirty!

The Turf Tavern

The Turf Tavern was on our list of pubs to visit while we were staying in Oxford. On Tuesday September 13th late afternoon our tour guide dropped us off at St. Helen’s Passage to make our way to The Turf.

We got the lay of the land and found our table # so we could order our food at the bar. Fish and Chips for Dear and Steak and Ale Pie for me.

We found by the end of our stay in Oxford that this was the best run pub in town, in our opinion. We enjoyed a meal or an ale at the Turf Six different times while we were in Oxford. The Staff was always cheerful and the servers were efficient and ready to help with any requests.

Since Sticky Toffee Pudding was on the menu we ordered one for us to share for dessert.

To find one of the passages to the Turf find the Bridge of Sighs and then walk under it to a narrow passage way which will take you down another passageway to the property.

Their name drop board shows all the famous people who have been to the Turf. We heard about it in researching the Pubs from the Inspector Morse Series.

The Turf Tavern (or just ‘The Turf’ to it’s locals) is probably the oldest pub in Oxford. The pub was built in the Canditch (the most outside City Wall) as gambling and betting was not permitted inside the walls of the City.

It’s foundations and use as a malthouse can be dated back to 1381, noted by tax imposed by Richard II. Originally called the ‘Spotted Cow’ the name was changed as it’s reputation grew as a venue of gambling. Patrons would frequent The Turf to mee their “Turf-Men’ and although logic might dictate that this was primarily a horse connection, it seems they would take bets on pretty much anything.

Since then it has become a firm favorite for Oxford Dons, students, Tourists from near and afar and many celebrities all searching the streets of Oxford, to find it’s best kept secret.

This is one of the outdoor patios at The Turf. The ancient city wall and the Bell tower at New College you see looming over the patio. I zoomed up with my camera to catch the gargoyles.

After church on Sunday when most of the Pubs and restaurants in town were full with people getting their Sunday Roasts and other goodies we high tailed it to the Turf again and tried to find a seat. At first the only seat we could find was outside in the patio but when our food arrived we noticed an empty seat inside and asked our server if we could switch and he obliged us. It was nice to leave the patio as some of the patrons were lighting up their cigarettes. I enjoyed a delicious Lamb Roast with standard Yorkshire pudding and gravy and roasted veggies. Dear opted for Fish and Chips again.

Our final visit to The Turf was on Friday afternoon the 23rd of September. This was our last full day in Oxford.

A pint and 1/2 a pint. We ordered something way outside of our usual on this day. A Chicken Wings platter with different sauces, etc. We met a Canadian mom and daughter who were visiting relatives in Oxford. The mom was originally from England and went to college in Oxford. A fun conversation.

If you ever find yourself in Oxford follow the passageway to The Turf, quiet and off the beaten track.

Tea for Two

On Wednesday we checked out of our apartment in Oxford and took a taxi to Woodstock to check into our hotel for  Wednesday and Thursday night. For curious minds the taxi was about 30 bucks. We could have taken a bus except with our luggage that would have been too taxing on us. We checked our luggage at the hotel and took a walk about the town. We had a nice lunch with a very jovial host at The King’s Arms where we met another U.S. family enjoying Woodstock. Later in the afternoon after getting the key to our room we had our first Afternoon Tea on at The Feathers Hotel in Woodstock. It’s interesting when our lodgings want you to check out by 10am and then your next lodging won’t want you to check in till 4PM. The hotel did let us check into our room at 2 instead of 4 since our room was ready. Our tea reservation was at 4:30. Afterwards we had a nice walk to the outskirts of town to catch a glimpse of Blenheim Palace.

Goodnight from Woodstock!

A Sunday Roast

My postcard for today after the Queen’s funeral yesterday is my Sunday Lamb Roast from the Turf Tavern. Roasts typically are only offered on Sundays at Pubs and restaurants. The Turf had a choice of Beef, Lamb or Chicken. Dear picked the Lamb for me, delicious. Besides the meat portion you get veggies, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. Dear opted for fish and chips instead of a Roast.

We spent the whole day yesterday watching the telly with absolutely no commercials or interruptions of the ceremony and processionals. We started watching at 7am up until the late afternoon with a quick break to run down for a quick fish and chips break. Wonderful coverage and commentary here.

Today, Tuesday, we will be out and about again trying to visit as many colleges as we can before we check out tomorrow at 10am and head to Woodstock for a couple of nights.

Quiet Today…

Today Monday September 19th should be a quieter day here because of the Queen’s funeral and it being a bank holiday here in the United Kingdom.

We stocked up on picnic supplies to enjoy in our apartment today during the funeral televised on the major channels here.

Grocery stores are closed today. Some of the other businesses will have open hours today. We are going to have an off day today just relaxing in our apartment, eating up what we have on hand. Curious as to what we purchased? Well let me tell you anyway. We have a beautiful loaf of Rosemary Sour Dough bread we purchased at the amazing Gail’s Bakery. We have a lovely Pear tartlet and Strawberry tart with custard we purchased at Paul Bakery. We have salami, cheese, olives & feta combo, avocado, grapes, tomatoes purchased at Sainsbury. We won’t starve.

Later I’ll share about the nice Sunday we had worshipping at a church service here in Oxford and our other Sunday experiences.

Quinoa Salad

This hearty salad has a nice flavor and is naturally gluten free. You can add or delete ingredients to suit your own taste buds, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mango
  • 1/2 to 1 cup garbanzo beans drained and rinsed (Chickpeas)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan combine quinoa with the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  2. Once it boils reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool completely.
  5. You can set it in the refrigerator to speed the cooling.

While the quinoa is cooling prepare the rest of the ingredients. I left the amounts of beans and green onion to your discretion. We enjoy green onion so I added the full 1/2 cup. Mix together all these ingredients with the cooled quinoa and enjoy as a side dish or a meal. You can easily make this a vegetarian dish by cooking the quinoa with water or vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock.

Although I’m going to try to create some posts during our travels I cannot guarantee that and I will be hit and miss with visiting blogs over the next two weeks. Cheers!

Back to School Hodgepodge

We are back on track for Wednesday Hodgepodge thanks to Jo From This Side of the Pond.

1. August is National Back To School Month…how does that make you feel? 

I’m pretty stuck in the tradition of school starting after Labor Day so I’m always surprised when we get the photos of our nieces and nephews starting school in August. Above is a photo of me in front of my high school that always started back to school after Labor Day.

Share a back-to-school memory. 

Our sons on the first day of school in 1986 or 1987, ready to walk to school. Our daughter waiting for the bus in 1991ish.

This memory of our daughter always sticks in my mind because she chose to wear that t-shirt on the first day of school a few years in a row. I was and am impressed with her boldness and resolve. This photo is from the first day of her senior year, 2003.

2. Something you’ve learned in ‘the school of life’? 

That God is in control and I am not.

Contentment is worth more than riches.

Here’s a quote from our sermon on Sunday. “If we displease God does it matter whom we please? If we please Him does it matter whom we displease? ~Leonard Ravenhill

3. Three words to describe your current mood.

Under the weather…

4. A summer food you’ve eaten too much of/are tired of?

Nada, Zip, nothing.

A summer food you haven’t had enough of? 

Nectarines and watermelon.

5. What small stuff do you sweat that you know you shouldn’t?

When planning a meal or event I always wonder if I ordered or made enough of this or that. It seems to always work out so I’m trying not to sweat over those things.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Speaking of Leonard Ravenhill here is another gem I’ll quote from him.

“A man who is intimate with God is not intimidated by men.”