Over the River…

…and across the line, to a Mennonite Girls Can Cook Christmas party we go!

We crossed the U.S./Canadian border at Sumas and the border agents didn’t confiscate my Smirntopf or my Antispasto platter so all was good. We arrived to Judy and Elmer’s home all decked out beautifully for Christmas.

Not all the girls could be there that night. Our eastern Canadian girls, Betty and Charlotte, got together in Manitoba for their own party this night.

We took care of some serious business first before we set out all the dishes of food. Judy put together a fun getting to know you game where we had to connect each of the guests to an obscure fact or experience that guest had in their life. It was not easy but before too very long Kathy was the first to  figure it all out. Having a sea lion visit visit him in his backyard, falling into a manure pit, kayaking the Cayes and jungles of Belize, assisting drunken hitchhikers, were just a few of the interesting experiences. We were sworn to secrecy for one of the experiences we heard about! Next was the White Elephant exchange where we behaved quite civilly except when it came to the basket of fresh eggs!

The guys headed upstairs to play the popular Canadian game called Crokinole while we girls warmed up and set out the dishes we brought to share.

Oh My!…

I wonder if there will be enough food!? We were chuckling about the fact that food abundance is never an issue when you invite the girls to bring a dish!

Judy created that cute Christmas tree cheese platter. I’m sure a duplicate will appear somewhere at another blogdom Christmas party!

So…do you think we’ll have enough? Don’t forget we still haven’t put out the desserts!!

We let our husbands go first and they enjoyed what they saw and dug in heartily.

The “Girls” got to sit around the table set perfectly for the 8 of us.

After our fill of the savories it was on to dessert, oh my!

Judy made this beautiful punch for us to enjoy and Lovella made some homemade Egg Nog.

Her recipe was on the MGCC blog yesterday if you’d like to try making your own nog!

We ended our time around the table exchanging gifts to one another. Such generous and sweet reminders of our love and friendship.

Another wonderful Celebration to tuck away in our hearts. Thank you Judy and Elmer for a beautiful evening and thank you girls for all your love and prayers and friendship and celebrations!!

Dinner and Desserts…

Yes I said desserts, plural, as in more then one! These Mennonite Girls know how to treat you.


Anneliese set a beautiful table with a place card that had a special verse chosen for each of us. This was our first dinner together and Anneliese served us some great chicken in a tasty vegetable sauce, rice and salads.

Every Day I will praise you…Psalm 145:2

Sweet Anneliese!


It was a dark and rainy day so my photos are dark. The dreary rain didn’t dampen our spirits or our time together.


Desserts were a bread pudding with a lovely orange anglaise and flan!


After our two desserts Julie gifted us each with these trivets/potholders with each of our names on it.

There will be more posts of our time together in the Fraser Valley of Canada because I want the time documented here on my blog.

Today is Labor Day here in the U.S.A. and Canada so I hope you are all having a restful day enjoying a day off from work.

Photobucket replaced all my photos with ugly black and grey boxes 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.

Tablescape Tuesday ~ Open House Buffet

Update: You can find the Pumpkin Praline Trifle recipe here. The Bavarian Apple Torte is here. I’ll be posting the Mount Rainier Chili recipe here.

We had a open house this past Saturday at our little condo in Southern California. There were 16 of us that enjoyed each others company and some food and drink.


I went with an autumn theme for the buffet table which triples as our dining table and my computer table every other day. It’s always funny when I plan events like this because I get a bit confused about what I have here at the condo and what is at my home in Washington. I always have to improvise because the majority of my stuff is in Washington. Mish Mosh works for me in these situations.


These are some of the food and drink we served. Our main course was Mount Rainier Chili that is made with white beans and chicken. We had a salad and lots of yummy bread from the Diamond Jewish Bakery on Fairfax in L.A. My BIL Nick and sister Vera always stop there on the way to our condo and load us up with Rye, Pumpernickle, and Challah. We had a cheese tray with fruit and salami, bruschetta, guacamole. Our desserts were a Pumpkin Praline Trifle and a Bavarian Apple Tart. I’ll be posting the recipes later this week. They are both great desserts. Most of the serving pieces are from thrift stores and target clearance. Instead of a punch bowl I’ve been using this great glass jug that I got at target for $12.95. It has a lid, too.


We were blessed with some great company at the open house. Friends from our past and new friends and family. I didn’t get a photo of everyone. My brother Tim and his wife Letty, my niece Michelle and her husband Ryan, My bloggy walking buddy Willow and her husband the Professor, and our old friends Ken and Heidi. My sister Vera and her husband Nick, my mom and dad, sister Kathy, and grand nephew Jackson didn’t get in any of the photos.

For more Tablescapes you can visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch on Tuesday.

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage and demanding a ransom for me to access them. I’m slowly cleaning up many of my posts where PB have added ugly black and grey boxes where my photos used to be. So frustrating!

Fun with Friends and Family


We have had some fun and fulfilling days this week with family and friends. Yesterday we headed to Dave and Jody’s house in Edmonds overlooking the Sound for swimming and food.


I had a little stroll about Jody’s garden and watched the bees enjoying it.

Finn charmed us with his cuteness. At one point in the evening, when no one was watching, Finn went into the bathroom and had fun with lots of toilet paper and grandmother’s lipstick!

We met and held sweet little Josee (pronounced JoeZay). She is 2 weeks old.

We also met for the first time, sweet Juliet, who is 4 weeks old and Josee’s cousin.

As if with all this sweetness we needed the desserts I brought (Recipes to follow soon)

Creamy Cheesecake and

Fruit Pizza (thanks Bernideen for the recipe) The recipe will make 2 round medium size pizza’s. I chose to do 1 large rectangular one.

Dave and Jody served Soft Fish Tacos made with barbecued Tilapia (Yummy) and Jan brought fruit. We always eat well when we get together.


The Sun going down beyond the Olympic Mountains on the Olympic Penninsula. Thank you Dave and Jody for another wonderful time in your company!

Besides all this fun the guys have been busy, busy, working on our continuing basement project. I love it when my 3 guys are together working, laughing and just hanging out…

Dear and Dan assembling the new wheelbarrow they needed for mixing cement.


Josh mixing up the cement…

Dear and Dan pouring the cement down into cinder blocks with limited access.

Time flies when you’re having fun.

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage on their site and have replaced my photos with black and grey boxes of ugliness. I’m slowly deleting those boxes from my blog and trying to update so many posts, very frustrating.

May I Recommend…

There’s a wonderful new food blog that was started by Lovella from What Matters Most. It’s a group effort from Mennonite and other gals who post wonderful recipes to share with bloggy world.

The blog is called Mennonite Girls can Cook.

Check it out, you won’t be disappointed. Just look at those images at the top of this post that come from this site. Yummy!

Photobucket is holding all my photos I stored with them from 2007-2015 hostage. They have blacked out all those photos on my blog posts. OH BOTHER! I’m slowly cleaning up my posts.

Hospital-i-Tea Blog-a-Thon ~ Delicacies…

Share your favorite teatime recipe for sweets or savories. Tea sandwiches, scones, and dainty desserts all count in this category. Give credit to the originator of the recipe if possible. Post a picture if you can. This is sure to make everyone hungry for a delicious tea time treat!


Cucumber Mint Tea Sandwich

1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced (about 32 slices)
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, rinsed, spun dry, and chopped fine
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
16 slices best-quality white bread
Salt to taste


Place cucumber slices between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture.

In a small bowl, combine mint, butter, and cream cheese; spread on one side of each slice of bread. Lay cucumber slices onto the buttered side of 8 slices of bread. Sprinkle with salt. Top with the remaining slices of bread, buttered side down.

Carefully cut the crusts from each sandwich with a sharp knife. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally and then cut in half again.

Yields 8 whole sandwiches or 16 halves or 32 fourths. Recipe Source here.


 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!

For more Tea Sweet and Savory recipes click over to LaTeaDah’s.For more Tea Sweet and Savory recipes click over to LaTeaDah’s.

Tranquility Tea Room in Thousand Oaks, California

This week’s theme is Tea Venues. This is a previous post but I wanted to share it during this weeks Tea Blogathon theme since it’s about a Tea Room that I’ve experienced and recommend.

Oh what a delightful haven we found for Tea in Thousand Oaks. Willow and I had reservations for a mini tea on Wednesday Afternoon. We arrived at Tranquility Tea Room which is in an office space on the 2nd floor of a building set back off of Thousand Oaks Blvd. When we opened the door we were delighted with what we saw.


Lots of China, Antique furniture, Lace, hats, fresh flowers, and tea accessories.


We chose our table and settled in for a lovely time.


Willow decided it was OK if I took a photo of her at our table.


We enjoyed looking at so many pretty things and then our food started arriving.


Aprils menu included Blueberries ‘n Cream Scones, Orange laced Mini Swirled Scones with their homemade lemon curd and Tranquility cream. Then there was a choice of Gourmet Tea Sandwiches. I chose the Cucumber a la Provencale and Caramel Apple Brie with Pecans. Willow chose the Caramel Apple Brie and the Chicken-Almond Salad. For dessert I chose the Lemon cheesecake triangle and Willow chose the Strawberry Tart. It was all very fresh and tasty! The touch of fresh flowers that adorned the food and plates added such a visual treat. We found out that Candra’s mother does the flowers for her. Oh who’s Candra?

We met Sue (who graciously served us) and Candra (on the right). Candra owns and operates the Tea Room. We had a nice long conversation about Tea rooms and ministry. Here’s something I copied from her website about her and the Tea Room.

Tranquility Baking and Tea Room
Seven years ago, Candra Coogan began a baking business with a desire to help a local charity. She began delivering cheesecakes dressed in Victorian attire and donated 10% of her sales. Her business grew into a successful catering and baking business specializing in tea parties, and in December she took the next step, opening Tranquility Tea Room on Thousand Oaks Boulevard.

Tranquility Baking Company was created in order to help support a special recovery program
for homeless Moms, The Lighthouse Women and Children’s Mission located in Oxnard, California.
We currently support the Lighthouse Women’s Shelter through monetary donations and other types of support.

What a wonderful ministry. They have a vision to move this tea room into a Victorian house in the Ventura/Oxnard area. That would be such an ideal setting. Thank you Sue and Candra for your wonderful hospitality and your heart for service to the community. Can’t end the post without one more collage of the fun things around the tea-room.


We highly recommend the Tranquility Tea Room to anyone who loves Tea in a comfortable, beautiful setting, with expertly created delicious delicacies. Can you tell I was impressed!

“Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.”
Chaim Potok

For more Tea Rooms and Ventures visit LaTeDah at Gracious Hospitality.

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!