As if…

…I needed it confirmed yet again, my name is Ellen and I’m horrible at crafting! I am real good at recognizing wonderful craft projects and appreciating wonderful craft projects. Not so fond of the mess and time it takes to create a craft especially when this is how my efforts turn out…

Please, go ahead and laugh because the 4 of us around the crafting table were rolling in laughter at my angry Matryoshka!

My sister Lana, Katie, Laura, and I had a great time laughing through our creating endeavors. We really had high hopes of making many of these little dolls but those hopes were dashed after 3 hours with only these to show for our efforts.

Even though we knew it would be easier and faster to create more after we worked through the process once,  we looked at each other and decided it just wasn’t worth it.

Just so you know that I can learn from my mistakes here is how my 2nd one turned out…she’s not as angry as my first one!

You might also find it cool that I did not pass on my crafting genes to our daughter Katie as you’ll see in the next photo of her Matryoshka.

Our time together was fabulous. We all needed that good kind of laughter that brings tears to your eyes. Yummy savory blintzes, pumpkin cookies, Monk’s brewed tea, and background music added a lot to our good time.

Earlier in the morning I took off for a 5.5 mile walk with a couple good friends of mine. When I returned home I was greeted with a new faucet in my sink that Dear installed.

His handy man skills are never in question! I’m looking forward to enjoying my new faucet especially since it doesn’t show spots like my old one did.

Hope you had a nice weekend. I’m thinking about my bloggy friends that might have lost power in that surprise snow storm back East. Hope you are all sitting in front of a cozy fire and drinking something hot!

I’m linking up with Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday . I think Mary might be one of the many people who have lost power. Hope you get power back soon Mary! Stay warm…

The Fun Just Never Stops!

Katie’s Bridal shower was such a wonderful evening with friends and family. I have not had time to put anything together for a post yet. I’m sharing our one nutty photo from the shower. These are my mom, sisters, sister-in-laws, nieces, and daughters. A few people are missing because of family emergencies and Bar exams.

Katie and I are staying with my nephew and his sweet wife. They were so gracious to let us move in even though they just moved into a new house and haven’t had a lot of time to get things organized. We love their new home and are grateful for their hospitality. The best part is that it is close to most of our Bag-o-Rama Jamboree activities.  Here are a few photos of our home away from home…

This is a Ginko Biloba Tree.

The home is in an Equestrian Community and they will be able to board their horse on their property when they build the proper shelter for it.

Sometime soon I’ll share the photos from the shower, and our breakfast outing, and the wonderful Flag Ceremony at Orange Circle where Katie was recognized and hugged…a lot. Thursday we will be at the Happiest Place on Earth. Is anyone else just tired from reading this. I am very tired but content and grateful for the time we get to spend with family and friends. Missing my Dear and glad he has next week off and we can spend lots of time together.

Good Saturday to You…

Seattle is serious about soccer and they hope to have a good bid for the World Cup to come here in the future. They decided to make their appeal in a visual way at the last Seattle Sounders Game before the World Cup break! Hope it works!!


We are away from the computer today. We traveled early to Anacortes to the friendliest World Cup Soccer viewing location we could find to watch the USA vs. England game before our Kayaking trip. We had limited time for travel to make our kayak start time so this was our best option since we did not want to miss a minute of this game. Our kayaking tour starts at 2:00 for 3 hours and we hope it’s not a Gilligan’s Island experience.

Hope you are all enjoying your Saturday. We have been promised wonderful weather today with temps in the 70’s. We have our sunblock, our hats, our waterproof shoes. Here’s hoping we don’t tip over because I’m taking my good camera, too!!

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.

FFF ~ Family, Flowers, FDA, Funnies…

Time once again to consider the past week and choose 5 favorites. Visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story to join in or see more Faves…

Here are my favorites and it was hard to narrow it down because of everything that happened last weekend…


1. Spending time with my family in Southern California. We packed so much into 2 days. Brunch at my mom and pops, Descanso Gardens with my sister and her family, Dinner at Tam O Shanter with the same crowd, rendezvous with my nieces and daughter at the hotel. That was Saturday! Sunday we met at Golden Skewer in Montebello for a wonderful Armenian lunch together.


2. Having my daughter Katie with me in Southern California for 2 days so she could spend time with her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. She also got to meet little Avery for the first time.

3. Enjoying the Rhododendrons blooming in my yard and other blooms that are a mystery to me.


4. Hearing the announcement and the cheers and happiness over Dendreon’s drug Provenge being approved by the FDA. It’s a cellular immunotherapy for men with advanced Prostate Cancer. It uses their own immune system to fight the disease. This is the company Dear is working for here in Seattle. This approval means he will still have a job on Monday. :0)

5. This next photo is something that made me laugh. We saw these signs on every tree on a street in Whittier, California this past weekend


Makes me wonder if the city got sued for sap dripping on cars or what???

My morning will be very busy because the moving van with all our stuff from the condo is arriving Friday morning bright and early. Here’s what I’ll probably be saying…no put that over there, those go in the basement, that goes upstairs, put that in the kitchen please, that needs to go in the garage…the joys of having more crap stuff then you need!!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone…

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.

Labor Day Weekend…

This is going to be a fun long weekend for Dear and me. We are going to celebrate his birthday every day this weekend. This year Dear’s birthday happens to fall on 09-09-09! All the more reason to celebrate in style. On Saturday we are driving up the coast to Morro Bay for lunch and whatever else comes our way. On Sunday after church we are headed south down the coast to have a birthday brunch at The Five Crowns Restaurant in Corona Del Mar. Monday morning the tide is low at the right time for us so we are going to have an early morning walk on the beach in Ventura. I hope to get lots of fun photos to share.

I also am documenting some things about my blog that are interesting to me and probably not so much to you….

This post is #1861.

I have had over 414,000 visits to my blog.

I am in my third year of blogging.

These last couple days I have had over 500 hits on all my Glendale Forest Lawn posts. I think this is because Michael Jackson’s funeral was there on Wednesday and people are curious about Glendale Forest Lawn now.

My most viewed post so far is my recipe for Rice Krispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars with 8732 views.

Coming in at 2nd is my recipe for Russian Easter Bread with 6210 views.

One of my earliest posts that comes in at third is An Irish Blessing for a New Home with 5362 views.

The fourth top post was my 2008 Christmas Tour of Homes with 4226 views.

Blogging has been a fun creative exercise for me and I’ve found a great joy in photography since I started blogging. I appreciate the little things more. One of the best benefits in blogging are all the friendships that have developed around the world. I don’t know how long I’ll keep this going but for as long as I do I’m going to have fun doing it. I love hearing from all my bloggy friends.

Have a good weekend…

Photobucket is holding all my photos that I stored on their site from 2007-2015 hostage replacing them with ugly grey and black boxes and asking for a large ransom to retrieve them. It is a slow process to go through all my posts deleting the ugly boxes.

Family and Friends in Huntington Beach…

***Please Scroll Down for Let There Be White!!

Since my brother’s family was here from Dallas for a week we had an “Open House” on Saturday for friends and family to drop in to visit.

My BIL Nick and sister Vera hosted the event. They always treat us to an amazing amount of food. We all contributed salads and dessert while Nick and Vera served turkey, chuck roast, lamb, regular potatoes, Smoked Gouda Potatoes, Gouda and Cheddar potatoes, plain rice, rice with nuts and raisins. I brought a Tiramisu cake for Nick since his birthday was coming up on the 25th!


ellen b. and my daughter Katie b. She was here for a week with her boyfriend Ben.


Katie with her cousin Hope and her cousin once removed Jackson! Jackson and Katie enjoyed playing Jedi Knights together…


Katie and her cousin Hope. Katie was the youngest granddaughter until Hope was born.

Katie and her boyfriend Ben. They enjoyed all the dizzy parks during their time in Southern California.


My BIL Steve (Lana G!’s husband) and my better half…Dear.

Lana G!

Lana G’s twin, Hope’s daddy, both dressed in seersucker!

Our sweet Miss Hope!

The Bagdanov sisters…Lana G!, ellen b, Vera, and Kathy.


Niece Michelle and our daughter Katie.

My nieces Michelle and Melissa, sisters…

The girl cousins! Debbee, Katie, Michelle, Hope, and Melissa.


Our dear friends. I love the matching expressions on Svetlana and my brother Steve’s face. Our celebration had a time of great singing at the table of good old hymns in Russian and English and some modern worship songs. Good ole 4 part harmonies. Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Peace Like a River, It is Well with my Soul, How Great Thou Art, O the Deep, Deep, Love of Jesus, The Good Shepherd is Seeking (A favorite Russian song of ours).

After all this excitement on Saturday we were up bright and early on Sunday for an airport run (4:30 am) to deliver Katie and Ben for their 6:30 am flight and then a drive across L.A. for my niece Michelle’s baby shower. Thankfully Dear did the airport run while I packed the car for the shower. Dear stayed home during the shower and when I got home at 8:00 PM he had the condo all cleaned up including washing all the bedding from our overnight guests. What a guy!!

I’ll be posting photos from the Pink and Brown Tea Party we had for Michelle and Ryan’s baby girl who is due to arrive somewhere around September 21st.

Photobucket is holding all my photos that I stored on their site from 2007-2015 hostage replacing them with ugly grey and black boxes and asking for a large ransom to retrieve them. It is a slow process to go through all my posts deleting the ugly boxes.

Target Birds on Holiday!

We’re joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for a fun little adventure called Target Birds on Holiday! Here’s our story that began in Norwalk, California a suburb of Los Angeles.


Well I found out just because the plane has Alaska written on it doesn’t mean all these big aluminum birds fly to Alaska. Our plane took us to Seattle, Washington.

Sheesh, she finally took us out of the box and here we are at the doorstep of our new home. Ellen b. advised us we would not be returning with her to California on Sunday but that we would be staying here with her two kids Dan and Katie and keeping an eye on the house while they are off hither and yon…

She took us on a little tour of the grounds of our new home. Yikes, I just realized she hasn’t named me yet! She named my friend here next to me Jack Sparrow. Such a strong name with adventurous possibilities. Oh I hope she doesn’t intend to name me Salty! How lame would that be! Well she says she’s still considering what to name me…


Hmmm…nice digs but that apple tree can sure use some pruning! Hard to land on branches growing straight up to heaven!

Now here’s a pretty bush to have a rest in. Hey lady! I still don’t have a name!!

We’re inside now looking out. She sure has some nice big windows and big trees around here. She informs me that we will have many more high perch possibilities here than at the condo in California. The only trees around that place are the palm variety…

So she says since we are on holiday we should get a little reading in. Reading is an activity humans enjoy when they are trying to relax and escape the everyday mundane world. I wasn’t too excited about sitting and listening to her read outloud but this story is so exciting! This Redwall book by Brian Jacques is all about animals and they talk and they hunt and they cook and travel and “save the day”! I love this book and the best thing about it is that there are Sparrows in it and she finally found the name she’s giving me!! In this book the sparrows are called Sparra and she thinks that the best name for me is Sparra Queen Warbeak! Can you believe how strong and cool that name is? Queen Warbeak…I just want to keep saying it out loud!  She says that Jack Sparrow and I will have the responsibility of protecting her home while she’s away. We will keep those pesky crows from moving in and thinking this is their territory. We’ll report to her any strange things that might be happening around the house while she’s in Cali. Even though she’s old, this is one cool lady that saved us from that Target shelf!

Boy I just hope the rest of our Target bird friends are having a good adventure and have found a good home. Hope they ended up with some good names, too. Oh and I must apologize for Jack Sparrow and his lack of words. He just likes to leave all the talking to me, Queen Warbeak!

Thank you Susan human lady over at Between Naps on the Porch for thinking of this great idea to liberate us birds from the Target shelf! I bet if you click on her name later this evening or tomorrow you’ll see more of our friends on Holiday!

Photobucket is holding all my photos that I stored on their site from 2007-2015 hostage replacing them with ugly grey and black boxes and asking for a large ransom to retrieve them. It is a slow process to go through all my posts deleting the ugly boxes.