Dear and I went on an overnight to the Long Beach Peninsula which is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay. Willapa Bay is famous for it’s oysters. We decided a stop in the historic little town of Oysterville would be interesting. Today I’m just sharing a few of the photos I took there.

This is the church which was open for us to walk through.

“This old Baptist church was built in 1892 at a cost of $1,500 and was paid for by R.H. Espy. No regular services have been held here since about 1930 and the church has been non-denominational since 1980. Summer services are held by ministers from various churches on the North Beach Pennisula. The church is located in the Oysterville Historic District which is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.”

The way the church is divided down the middle we guessed that the men and women used to sit on opposite sides of the church for services…

There were several home sites with the history of the home or original owners posted.

Many of the homes had beautiful gardens which I had to zoom in to capture. The homes are privately owned now and I’m sure they don’t appreciate people walking about their yards.

This is the oldest house in Oysterville built in 1863.

Since Teacher Jenny’s Alphabe-Thursday is on the letter O and we were just in Oysterville on Tuesday this O post is timely so I’m joining in after a long absence from this weekly meme. For more entries on the letter O visit Teacher Jenny.

Dear and I are back home now after our overnight away. It was a wonderful break for us and I’ll share more as the days go on. So many interesting places to share and of course the food we ate with restraint!

Maundy Thursday…

Thursday of Holy Week or Passion Week is Maundy Thursday.



Excerpts from John chapter 13…

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.  “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

“Maundy Thursday is the Thursday of Holy Week (the Thursday before Easter). It was the day on which Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples, sharing a meal with them which we call the Last Supper.

In those days it was usual for a servant to wash the guests feet on arrival. On this occasion there was no servant present and none of the disciples volunteered to do the menial task. Instead, Jesus got up and washed his disciples feet, giving them an object lesson in humility and service.

In some churches priests carry out a ceremonial washing of the feet of twelve men on Maundy Thursday as a commemoration of Christ’s act.

The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin for ‘command’ (mandatum). It refers to the command given by Jesus at the Last Supper, that his disciples should love one another.”



What Jesus did here to teach his disciples is very important for Christ followers to consider. He showed the “full extent of his love” by washing their feet and instructed them to follow his example and wash each others feet. We can’t miss the fact that serving one another is a very important truth that Jesus wants us to understand and follow. I need to put others needs above my own. Who does God want me to serve? Who am I suppose to wrap the towel around my waist for? Who am I suppose to lay down my rights and privileges for? Who am I to show the full extent of my love to?  Who am I suppose to humble myself for? It’s not easy to be a disciple/follower of Jesus but it is worth it.

The photo of the statue of Jesus washing Peter’s feet was taken by me at the Garden’s of the World in Thousand Oaks, California.

I’m linking up with Teacher Jenny for Alphabe-Thursday and we are on the letter T.

Sunday Serenade

“She” said “she” was done with the wedding shots. But “she” was wrong. I keep finding some more shots that I want to memorialize on my blog. Since I’ve skipped Alphabe-Thursday with Teacher Jenny for a while because of all the wedding hoopla I’ll chime in with the letter S today. I hope I don’t get in trouble for being truant! Our daughter’s wedding celebration was on Sunday March 11th so here’s my Sunday Serenade.

Her Knight in shining armor or with his shining crown. God let the sun shine on their day and Andrew’s Cover and Katie’s hair picked up the glow.

I like this one because it captured the whole wedding party with our two sons on the far right.

The happy parents of the bride, my husband and me. I like how the shot captured my brother in the background smiling, too. My brother Steve performed the ceremony.

My brother Tim and SIL Letty. My sister Vera’s kids, David and Debbee.

Nephew by marriage Ryan with our two sons Daniel and Joshua.

My sister got a photo of the photographer who is a good friend. It will be fun to see the scenes he captured…

We’re back to gloomy and rainy here in the Seattle area. Hoping for a few sun breaks here and there. Hope you noticed all the S’s that naturally occurred in my sentences!! Happy Thursday everyone! See ya soon!

USS Midway!

Midway Magic…

When we were in San Diego in January we got to tour this amazing ship. My brother Tim, his wife Letty, my sister Vera and I were allowed on board after laying down some cold hard cash.

It was difficult to capture the enormity of this ship with my camera.

No other aircraft carrier served the U.S.A. in the 20th century as long as the USS Midway. Its track record of humanitarian missions, establishment of new naval aviation standards, and marathon deployments made it one of the most noteworthy aircraft carriers in the history of the U.S. Navy.

The Midway was commissioned in 1945 as the largest ship in the world for a decade, the first too large for the Panama Canal

The flight deck is 4.02 acres!

Friendly Docents are located all over the ship to give informative tours and answer any questions you might have.

For our tour of the Bridge we were happy to be assigned to Captain Bruce W. Churchhill. He served for 25 years in the Navy and even had his aircraft featured on the deck of the Midway.

Views from the Bridge…

The Midway was decommissioned in San Diego, California in 1992. In 2004 it opened as the USS Midway Museum in San Diego.

As of 2010 the Midway Museum has surpassed 5 millions visitors since opening.

We were all given permission to go ashore except for my feisty Sister-in-law Letty…

They threw her in the Brig. If San Diego is in your travel plans make sure to put a tour of the Midway on your itinerary. If you do visit would you please say hi to Letty for us…

I’m linking up with Miss Jenny for Alphab-Thursday since we are on the letter M!

25 days to the wedding!!


Just in time for the letter I we got snow and here in Seattle we measure snow in inches! I’m linking up with Jenny our fearless teacher for Alphabe-Thursday.

Here on our hill we got a total of probably 6-8 inches.

Snow is always big big news in the Seattle area. So far this system hasn’t taken out our power so it’s nice to sit inside where it’s cozy and warm and enjoy our new white world. Igloo creating has been the theme in the neighborhood. Snow is very inconvenient in Seattle because of our very steep hills and streets that go up and down the hills. You would never describe the state of Washington as being flat. They are talking about wind coming in so I hope we continue to keep our power.

Our daughter and her husband are headed to Salt Lake City with the car loaded as full as they could pack it. They are going to take it slow and easy stopping along the way if they have to. From Salt Lake City they have to travel all the way to North Carolina. We of course are praying for traveling mercies along their way. I decided to post the photos I took this morning as the kids headed out with an update on our snow pack.

There she is with my snow boots. She was happy that we can wear the same size. She was also happy to have her husbands down coat. Andrew will be putting those chains on and taking them off a few times on this trip. He’ll be a pro by the time they get to Salt Lake City.

We wonder how many hours it will be for them to make it to Eastern Washington over Snoqualmie Pass.

I think in inches we are now at the 8 inch mark.

Coming to the U.S.A.

U is for the United States of America!

The following story was transcribed by my sister-in-law Kelly as she listened to my parents tell some of their story on immigrating to the U.S.A. in September of 1947. They were visiting my brother Steve and Kelly on Labor Day September 5, 2011.

“Spent the afternoon with  Mom and Pop and wanted to share some of what they had to say.  This is the unedited copy filled in as Pop was talking…so excuse the grammatical errors, if I wait to edit you may never see it.”

(This photo is taken after my parents and sister Kathy settled in Los Angeles. This was sometime in late 1947 or early 1948. My mom is pregnant with my sister Vera in this photo and Vera was born in late February of 1948.)

“Pop said he’s never shared all these details because…no one asked.  What started the retelling is that tomorrow marks the anniversary of their first arriving in NewYork…Sept. 6, 1947.  They arrived in Los Angeles on the 12th.

When Mom and Pop left Iran they got a flight on a Red Cross cargo plane..the propeller variety, that had dropped off supplies and was heading back to New York.   It was very loud he said…no seats, just benches along the sides.  Due to refueling and frequent stops it took 4 days to fly from Tehran to New York.  At  most of the stops they got out and ate…and in four places spent the night. He said they had 27 people on the plane and it was full.”

(This is probably what the inside of the Red Cross cargo plane looked like. I hope the Navy is ok with me borrowing it…)

“This is the basic itinerary.  (Pop had made a detailed journal of the trip, but lost it in the last few moves.)  From Tehran to Cairo…spent the night.  From Cairo to Rome..spent the night, got to drive by St. Peters.  From Rome to England, where they were not allowed off the plane so they had to head to Ireland to a US military base.  They spent the night there.  From Ireland they went to Iceland, then to Greenland…where they again spent the night.  From Greenland they went to New York.

Upon arrival in New York they were taken directly to the train station.  Unfortunately, the ‘coupons’ that one of pop’s brother’s, my Uncle John, secured for them weren’t signed, so they couldn’t be used. They were suppose to be vouchers for travel purchased in Iran from an agent.  So since the coupons didn’t work they were stuck in the train station with no money, no food, with a one year old. Mom and Pop were 23 and 24 at this time.

Some nice people helped them and Pop had a card with the name of a Russian church on it.  They took them on the subway to the church and arrived in the evening just as the minister was locking up.  There was no time to find a home for them to spend the night so they took them to a hotel.  Mom said, ‘They put us on the 9th floor, I was so scared..”  And the other couple they were with were on the 14th floor.  The next morning was a Sunday so the streets were empty and Mom said she looked out the window and down and there was trash blowing along the street.  Very frightening to look that far down.

The minister showed up with milk and bread, they hadn’t eaten the day before, and they remember that delivery making them feel like orphans.  They had no money, no food, and Pop only spoke a little English.  (Which he had learned working on an American Military Base in Tehran…I’ll get to that.)

The pastor took them to church and that night they stayed with a family.  On Monday they put them on a train to Chicago.

Two vivid memories of their time in NewYork…  It was the first time Mom had seen toast, and she couldn’t figure out how they got it perfect on both sides.  She also got stuck in a revolving door and couldn’t get out.  She said, they weren’t educated enough to be in New York.

In Chicago another group from a church met them, fed them, gave them a place to stay, and then put them on a train to Los Angeles.  It should be noted that Kathy was very good during all of this, only cried a little.  At some point in this US leg of the journey they were able to contact people in LA to wire them money for the train tickets.  Pop figured it took them about 2 years to pay back all of the costs of their trip to the States.”

(This is a photo of my sister Kathy in a park in Los Angeles, California. Love how the older folk sitting on the benches in the background all have hats on.)

My parents were the first of their families to arrive in the U.S.A.

“In the course of telling this story Pop mentioned other jobs he’d had so I made him list them in order…here is roughly the job history.

His first job was driving horses plowing the fields in Russia.  There were four horses hooked to the plow.  He worked plowning.  (Think clowning)  He also worked threshing the wheat.

Then he worked as a shepherd.  A group of families had cows, sheep, and goats and it sounds like the kids from each family took turns watching the animals.

When they moved to Tehran he worked as a babysitter/houseboy doing whatever the woman of the house wanted him to do.

Later, in Iran he had a job feeding cows.  Then after they were milked he would walk around town to the customers they had and sell milk from a bucket by the cup.

After that he went to work on some of the Shah’s land doing farming.  When it wasn’t farming season he would deliver sand and bricks to road crews.

Then he had jobs on Military bases…he worked on the American base in the kitchens washing out the pans. They would feed him while he was there, and give him food to hide on his body to take out to his family.  (Not technically allowed to take the food, but the cook was nice.)  It’s also where he learned to speak some English.

He also worked on the Russian military base as a mechanic.  He said he ‘fix em’ Chevy’s and Studebaker’s, when they had been in accidents, we fix em up.

His last job in Tehran was in a brick factory.  It was far away so he needed to have transportation.  He said, he and Mom lived in an apartment with 4 other families above a sauna house owned by a Turkish man.  He sold Pop a bike that he had stolen…  When I asked, ‘he stole the bike?”  He said,’Yes, but he sold it to me real cheap, and nobody would recognize it because they changed the color.”  He rode the bike to work every day.”

Ellen’s thoughts…

When I think of what my parents went through to get to the United States I’m really grateful. Grateful to God for giving them the courage and faith to face the unknown. Just the language barrier had to be scary. They had a little toddler and my mom was pregnant with my sister Vera during this journey. Sitting on a bench in a loud cargo plane with 24 other people with a little one in diapers, amazing. They had no idea what kind of life they were going to have in the United States. They had only lived in villages where maybe there were a few 2 story stuctures and here they were in New York City with tall buildings. When they arrived in Los Angeles my dad worked odd jobs in carpentry and construction. They helped the rest of their extended family immigrate to the U.S. over a number of years. Each of these family units lived with my parents until they could get into a place of their own. My mother’s father was killed in Iran after my parents came to the U.S. My mother’s mom immigrated to the U.S.A. with my Uncle and Aunt as a widow. So much hardship endured and they persevered over the years and have always expressed their thankfulness to God for bringing them to the U.S.A. They had 9 children total. Their first daughter died in Iran when she was a toddler. Here are the 8 of us in age order…this is an old photo.

Kathy, Vera, Fred, Ellen, Tim, Steve, Lana, Leonard

My mom and pop in 2009. Next week on the 13th of September they celebrate their 68th Wedding Anniversary!

This is a very long wordy post but I want to document all this information for my family to have. If you made it through I applaud you! Thank you for your perseverance!

I’m linking up this story to Alphabe-Thursday since we are on the letter U. Thank you to Jenny for hosting this fun meme.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Have you noticed when playing the Alphabe-Thursday Meme how fast the weeks fly? We are already on the letter J. Thank you to our hostess Jenny for a good reason to remember our ABC’s. J is for Jenny and for the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.


Thomas Jefferson


In the thick of party conflict in 1800, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a private letter, “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”


This powerful advocate of liberty was born in 1743 in Albemarle County, Virginia, inheriting from his father, a planter and surveyor, some 5,000 acres of land, and from his mother, a Randolph, high social standing. He studied at the College of William and Mary, then read law. In 1772 he married Martha Wayles Skelton, a widow, and took her to live in his partly constructed mountaintop home, Monticello.

Freckled and sandy-haired, rather tall and awkward, Jefferson was eloquent as a correspondent, but he was no public speaker. In the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress, he contributed his pen rather than his voice to the patriot cause. As the “silent member” of the Congress, Jefferson, at 33, drafted the Declaration of Independence. In years following he labored to make its words a reality in Virginia. Most notably, he wrote a bill establishing religious freedom, enacted in 1786.




My Dear, who takes the time to read things when we visit monuments or museums.








Hope your first week of summer is starting off well. June will be over before we know it! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

Photobucket replaced all my photos with blurred out versions and they are holding my photos hostage until I pay them lots of money. I’m slowly going through all my posts and trying to clean them up and replacing some photos. Such a bother.

By Gum by Golly…

*** If you are looking for my cookbook GIVEAWAY click here.


We are on the letter G! It’s time to share your choices and link up with our hostess and teacher Jenny for Alphabe-Thursday.

My choice for G is a Guinness in Georgetown.

A really good bartender is hard to find. I think we discovered the best bartender East of the Cascades on our recent trip to Washington D.C. There are plenty that will mix up a drink for you or pour you a beer and plop it in front of you with hardly a smile but then there’s the rare one who has panache. Someone who adds style and good conversation to his art.


We were on the Tour Trolley going through Georgetown when our guide directed our attention to Martin’s Tavern. We knew we’d be jumping off the trolley and strolling back to the Tavern because of it’s historical significance or because we really wanted a beer, you decide. We sat at the bar instead of a table and we were so pleased we did.


As luck would have it we got to meet Damon the bartender this afternoon.


Not only was he a great bartender but he was a good sport and posed for a photo for my blog.


I ordered a Guinness and look what I got…A Guinness, but not just any Guinness on draught. Take a closer look y’all and check out the head on my Guinness. Do you see what I see? Do you see the genuine Irish Shamrock?


I was so thirsty I almost missed it but Dear pointed it out to me and then I didn’t want to drink it but I just wanted to enjoy it. Did I tell you I’m very visual? This was the very first time a Guinness was served to me with the bartender taking the added time to design a Shamrock on it’s head.

Thank you Damon! We are sincere in saying you are one of the best bartenders we have ever chatted with. You made our Georgetown experience at Billy Martin’s very memorable! You really impressed Dear because of your classic knowledge of spirits and beer and especially the fact that you know what a Martini isn’t.

Now for you history buffs who might not enjoy booze, here’s some interesting history associated with Billy Martin’s!

There are several tables at Martin’s that boast being a president’s favorite, from Harry Truman to George W. Bush.

Booth #1 “The Rumble Seat”;

After mass at Holy Trinity in the 1950’s JFK sat in this booth reading the paper and having brunch on Sundays.

Booth #3 – The Kennedy Booth – a.k.a. The Proposal Booth

JFK and Jackie frequently dined in Booth #3. On Wednesday, June 24, 1953, having returned from covering the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth for the Washington Times Herald, Jacqueline Bouvier accepted John Kennedy’s proposal of marriage. The next day customers and staff excitedly talked about “that nice young Kennedy senator” proposing to his girlfriend the night before in their booth. Since that day, Booth #3 is known as “the proposal booth”.

Booth #6 – The Truman Booth

Harry Truman, his wife Bess and daughter Margaret sat here for many dinners when Margaret was a student at George Washington University in 1942 and he was a senator from Missouri. Margaret Truman wrote 14 mystery novels set in Washington D.C. and many of her novels included Martin’s Tavern. Murder in Georgetown, pg. 58 -“She seemed anxious to comply and they arranged to meet at seven at Martin’s Tavern.”


If you find yourself in Georgetown make sure and visit Billy Martin’s Tavern and say hi to Damon for us!

Here’s another G you shouldn’t miss…I’m having a Giveaway on my blog. Enter to win our MGCC cookbook with all the girls signatures!

Photobucket replaced all my photos with blurred out versions and they are holding my photos hostage until I pay them lots of money. I’m slowly going through all my posts and trying to clean them up and replacing some photos. Such a bother.

Buh buh buh buh B!

It’s time to present something for the letter B at Jenny’s Alphabe-Thursday. I was scratching my head wondering what to post and then I thought why not bore all of you with some brief bullet points about ellen b. I hope by now you’ve noticed the letter b‘s in this post are highlighted in blue!


I’ve always been ellen b. My maiden name and married name begin with the letter B. Here I am in my predominately blue apron doing a cooking demonstration with some of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook at Lepp Farm Market in British Columbia.

I’m not Mennonite but the Mennonite Girls adopted me because many of our recipes are similar since my heritage is 100% Russian. We started with a blog together and now we have our very own cookbook!


This is one of my recipes in the book from my mother Nadia Bagdanov for Blintzes! You can order the book at Amazon! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d have some recipes in a published cookbook but blogging has a way of taking you to places you never dreamed of.

Speaking of being published, another brief story I wrote was published in this book…

It’s the story of my father coming to Christ at the Billy Graham Crusades in Los Angeles in 1963 and the impact that had on the Bagdanov family. You can read my post about that here.


After my father came to Christ we stayed in a church he was raised in until he decided to be baptized. At that point the group we were part of ostracized him and we joined the Russian Baptist Church where my Babushka attended. Babushka is the name for grandmother in Russian. My maternal grandmother was a wonderful lady who raised 3 children and was an amazing embroiderer even though she only had one hand. She lost one of her arms from the elbow down when she was a little girl in Russia. My mother had been raised Baptist but left the church when she married my dad and then we all ended up rejoining the Baptist church. Here’s a photo of my little maternal Babushka. We all really loved her!


Funny side note: There was a rumor in the Persian Village where my parents were married that my father could not have children. Well that rumor was put to rest when my parents ended up having 9 children. You might be wondering how my parents ended up in Persia since they are Russian. Both of their families fled Russia separately in the early 1930’s because of religious persecution. They traveled on foot into Iran and settled in villages outside of Tehran.

Russian Baptists can sometimes be quite legalistic. No dancing, drinking, smoking, playing cards, or going to movies. Thankfully my parents weren’t strict Legalists. They even took us to the drive-in theater to see all the great Walt Disney Movies growing up. But they’d still be surprised to know their daughter enjoys one of these every now and then.


A Bloody Mary. Maybe I’m on the carefree, wild side because of my birth order. I was #4. I have 2 older sisters and an older brother. The fact that I was the baby of the family for 7 years before 3 more brothers and a sister were born into our family might have something to do with my “who cares” attitude!

Before I stop my babbling I wanted to share that we are planning a wedding for our daughter and her Marine husband Andrew in January of 2012, after Andrew returns from his first deployment. We booked the wedding venue today. We chose Blue Ribbon on Lake Union in Seattle because of their total package weddings and the fact that they have a military clause that will allow us to change the date if we have to. Andrew and Katie got married in a civil ceremony on March 11th of this year in North Carolina. Our friends and family will come together to celebrate that union at a wedding ceremony to offer belated witness to their vows. One of my younger brothers who is a pastor will perform the ceremony next January.


Hope you made it to the end of my bullet point post. I’ll be coming around before you know it to see what you’ve been up to with the letter B! Thank you Jenny for hosting this meme!

Photobucket replaced all my photos with blurred out versions and they are holding my photos hostage until I pay them lots of money. I’m slowly going through all my posts and trying to clean them up and replacing some photos. Such a bother.