Getting to Know You…

I enjoyed reading Eileen’s Getting to Know Me and Mildred’s, too, so I’m answering the 25 questions.
1. What is your middle name?: 
I do not have a middle name on my birth certificate. In my Russian culture I would be introduced as Ellen, Moisi’s (daughter) Bagdanov. Everyone would then know that I was Moisi’s daughter not Ivan’s daughter.
That’s my maiden last name in Russian on my paternal grandparents’ gravestone.
2. What was your favorite subject at school?:
Any class where the teacher made me feel like they appreciated having me as a student especially my English teachers in high school. I enjoyed Home Economics and ended up majoring in Home Economics.
Mrs. Nicolaus was my favorite primary teacher.
3. What is your favorite drink?:
Morning: coffee  Cocktail: Gin and Tonic
4. What is your favorite song at the moment?:
Great is Thy Faithfulness
5. What is your favorite food?:
It’s hard to beat a good Ribeye steak or Osso Bucco or Prime Rib. I can’t narrow it down to one. My easy go to comfort food is probably Mexican food but I love finding good Persian restaurants that take me back to my food roots. I’m going to say my favorite food is food!
6. What is the last thing you bought?:
A large angel at Homegoods today.
7. Favorite book of all time?:
Yikes! Another hard one to narrow down. Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter Series.
8. Favorite Color?:
9. Do you have any pets?:
10. Favorite perfume?:
I don’t wear perfume and if you do please spray lightly. Thank you. 🙂
11. Favorite holiday?:
Easter is my favorite.
12. Are you married?:
Yes, this month we’ll celebrate 44 years!
13. Have you ever been out of the country?:
Yes. Great Britain seven times, Italy (Milan) once, Mexico once, Canada too many times to count.
14. Do you speak any other language?:
I can speak Russian poorly. I understand it better than I can speak it.
15. How many siblings do you have?:
Eight, 4 brothers and 3 sisters.
This photo is from my sister Kathy’s wedding. The groom and best man that are flanking Kathy aren’t part of the my 7 siblings and Dear is standing next to me. All the rest are my brothers and sisters who are now 44 years older! Kathy, Vera, Fred, Ellen, Tim, Steve, Lana and Leonard. The last two are twins.
16. What is your favorite shop?:
17. Favorite restaurant?:
For a nice hunk of meat, Metropolitan Grill. My all time favorite places to eat are Pubs in Great Britain.
18. When was the last time you cried?:
Last week. I cry easily during worship services.
19. Favorite Blog?:
I like a variety of blogs and especially enjoy visiting blogs that don’t bombard me with ads. I’m sad that a few of my favorites aren’t up and running at present.
20. Favorite Movie?:
The older Pride and Prejudice series with Colin Firth. Does that qualify as a movie?
21. Favorite TV shows?:
Great British Baking Show, Alone, Top Chef, Project Runway, Live PD, Survivor, NCIS, just to name a few.
22. PC or Mac?:
23. What phone do you have?:
Samsung 4 or 5 , probably time to upgrade.
24. How tall are you?:
5′ 4-1/2″
25. Can you cook?:
Yes I can and I’m part of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook. My mother was a great Russian cook. Her love language was to cook for others and to feed them. She loved to listen to cooking shows on the radio and try to write down the recipes. Since she didn’t know how to write in English this was a challenge for her. She enjoyed trying new things and inspired all of her kids to cook. The photo above is from our humble home in Montebello at a dinner prepared for the cheer squad by my mom, Borsch, Meat and Potato filled Perishky and Blintzes. My parents modeled hospitality even though they always struggled financially while we were growing up.
Thanks for visiting today. We are hoping our counters will be able to be cut and installed on Monday!

My First Plane Ride…

In 1970 my best friend and I were able to plan a trip east to see her family and meet up with friends for a wonderful tour including Mackinac Island, New Jersey, New York City, Buffalo, Boston, Connecticut and Washington D.C.  This would be the first time I took a trip that included flying in a plane. Here are my old photos from that trip.

img327I’m really not sure exactly where we started from and where we ended this trip. My friend Heidi and I traveled from Los Angeles. One of the spots we stayed was in Michigan at our friend Faye’s home. Faye’s dad was our pastor at Bethany Baptist in L.A. for several years. When they left L.A. they settled in Troy, Michigan. Faye and Heidi were best friends through high school. We also spent time on the lake at Peter and Ruth Leonovich’s home. Peter and Ruth took the three of us to Mackinac Island for a day.


We had loads of fun riding bikes around the island. On the way to the island there were threats of rain and I remember Pete stopping the car so the 3 of us could do sun dances instead of rain dances. Looks like it worked.



img324In New Jersey after we visited Heidi’s grandmother and uncles and aunts we were guests at Peter Leonovich’s brother’s home. Al and Babs treated us to wonderful meals and a trip into New York City to see the sights including the Statue of Liberty.





img306Somehow we also ended up in Buffalo New York with more “friends of friends” who took us to see Niagara Falls and we had the most delicious barbecued corn during a backyard barbecue that I had ever tasted.


img308Andy Semenchuk was our amazing tour guide to Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Washington D.C.

img309Boston was beautiful. I remember how shocked I was at seeing how small Plymouth Rock was.





img314Because we were from California we had to pose next to Junipero Serra in the National Statuary Room. Turns out the first school Dear and my two sons attended was Junipero Serra Elementary School in Ventura, California.



img317George Washington’s Mount Vernon

img318Looking back I’m so humbled at how hospitable everyone was to us. A place to lay our heads, food, sightseeing trips, and transportation everywhere we needed to go and didn’t need to go but these amazing people wanted to treat us to these sights. Thank you, thank you, to Andy Semenchuk, the Al Leonovich Family, Peter and Ruth Leonovich, and the Chechowich family. You broadened our horizons and our world view and modeled hospitality to us! I am forever grateful…

Blue from Canada~

I spent 3 wonderful days with 9 other girls from the Mennonite Girls Can Cook Blog last week in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. These mosaics are just a little glimpse of our time together.

We spent a few hours at Minter Gardens.

The 3 of us girls from “out of town” were hosted by Bev and Kathy. This was my room at Bev’s home.


We were treated to a wonderful boat cruise on Harrison Lake by Bev’s husband. It really was the perfect day to be out on the water.

Thank you Sally at Smiling Sally for hosting Blue Monday.


Making Having Out of Town Guests Easier…

Summer is coming and for some of us that means an increase in overnight guest traffic. When Dear and I moved to Washington away from both of our families we were introduced to holiday visitors. You can stress out if you want or plan to make it less stressful. Learn from our good and bad experiences.

At first we thought we had to be there for every little experience sacrificing our sanity. Then we learned to give our guests some freedom. We also learned to give them some responsibility. If someone was great at making pies, we picked blackberries for them. If someone was celebrating a birthday we made reservations at a restaurant to celebrate. Our guests have helped with car repairs and home improvement projects.

Over the years we have had very mellow go with the flow guests and some more pamper me guests whose eating patterns changed from year to year. (No fat, some fat, no sugar, only Diet Coke, no meat, only chicken, no carbs,  etc. etc.) Here’s what we ended up doing. Before they ever arrived in Washington we asked them to research and decide what they’d really like to experience and what they were comfortable leaving up to us. Then we asked what their favorite breakfast cereal was and their favorite beverages. When they arrived they were shown the notes on the refrigerator.

#1 ~You are welcome to anything in my refrigerator and cupboards. Please check and see if I have the items you need to be happy. If you do not see the things here that will make you happy we will make a trip to the grocery store so you can purchase the items that will make you comfortable during your stay here.

#2 ~ I do not ask you over the course of the day if there is anything you need. You are very welcome to get whatever you need and want at any point during the day without my permission. I and my family will get a snack without asking you if you want one. If you want a snack please know that we want you to treat this like your home. Get up and get that snack you want without asking permission! If there is something you need please feel free to ask and we will hunt it down for you!

#3 ~ You can use the dishwasher, the stove, the oven, the microwave,the washing machine, the shower anytime during the day.

#4 ~ We encourage our company to participate in making at least one meal while they stay with us. While they are making the meal the rest of us will set the table and have fun creating an atmosphere to go with their menu. With my sister-in-law Letty who happens to be Hispanic we really go all out with the Mexican theme while she makes the Mexican rice, beans, salsa and Carnitas for all of us to enjoy!!

This may sound harsh to some of you but you need to know that we do make several meals and drive our company all around town to see the sights and we do enjoy all of these activities. It’s just good to have the comfort of knowing they don’t have to be cared for every minute of the day. That’s why we give them the freedom to get up and get whatever they need whenever they need it without our direction.

Being pro-active in spelling out things and squashing any unreasonable expectations will make it easier on everyone and make you welcome overnight guests over and over again…

We always look forward to out of town guests since we’ve set up guidelines for ourselves and them. There are always those who don’t need any guidelines, those who just fit in with the everyday flow.

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.

Tablescape Thursday ~ Friendship Tea

It’s time for another fun day of viewing tablescapes in Bloggy World. Susan at Between Naps on the Porch is our hostess for this event so click on over to her blog to see all the links to different tables set for us to enjoy.

Welcome to my Friendship Tea. I’m a table leader for our Women’s Bible Study at my church and I invited the ladies over for tea. It was fun putting together a tea table. Our Bible Study Women’s Leader is part of my table and it happened to be her birthday on the day of the tea so we had an extra celebration.


The Places were set and designated with these fun vase place card holders.


We had 3 different types of tea,  an Earl Grey, Peach Herbal, and a Russian Black Tea.


Cucumber- Basil sandwiches, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Scones, Dream Cookies, Heart shaped Red Velvet mini cakes, Mock Clotted Cream and Lemon Curd and Strawberries.


Thank you for visiting my Friendship Tea.

Before you go I just wanted to show you my actual Valentine Tablescape that Dear and I ate at on Valentines Day…

Photobucket is holding all my photos I stored with them from 2007-2015 hostage unless I pay them a lot of money. I’m slowly cleaning up many posts from this time period and deleting their ugly grey and black boxes with a ransom request. Such a time consuming bother.



Tablescape Tuesday ~ Bar Scapes for Two

Time flies when you are having fun! It’s almost Tuesday again and time for some more Tablescaping fun. Today I’m showing two variations on table settings at our bar in our little condo. Susan at Between Naps on the Porch is the hostess for this fun event. Click on over and see the variety of fun, romantic, elegant, practical table settings that have been created.

I’ve been away from the computer for a couple days so I’ll be playing catch-up on Metamorphosis Monday and Blue Monday.


The chargers are from TJ Maxx clearance. I used my everyday white dinner plates and then added the salad plate that I found at Marshall’s on clearance. I love plates with country scenes on them. The martini glasses, that I use for pretty desserts, too, were from target a couple years ago.



I changed up the tablesetting at the bar with these square grey chargers and square white plates and a small decorative plates that are “White Russian” plates. I love the little cocktail glasses I found with the Russian Cossack dancers on them. The napkin rings were a gift from my DIL and Son last Christmas.



My true confession for this week is that we did not eat at these settings. Don’t judge me too harshly, though.

Now head on over to Susan’s for more Tablescape inspiration.

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007 to 2015 hostage and has replaced them all with ugly black and grey boxes asking for a ransom to have them re-published. Such a frustrating bother as I go through each post to delete the ugly boxes.

Saturday in Huntington Beach with Hope ~

My brother Leonard, his wife Mandy and their 7 month old daughter Hope paid us a surprise visit from Dallas the last few days. Leonard had to travel to Southern California for business so Mandy and Hope joined him for the weekend.


Leonard is my baby brother, Lana G’s twin. He’s been married to Mandy for 2 years now and they were blessed with sweet little Hope in January of this year.


When my family gets together there is a lot of everything. Lots of people, lots of food, lots of plates, lots of talk and lots of laughter. We generally meet up at my sister Vera’s house in Huntington Beach because her and her husband Nick have the gift of making lots of food. We joke around about what 3 meats they will be preparing this time. The rest of us bring something to accompany all the meat they prepare. This time we had ribs, chuck roast, pineapple chicken, roasted chicken, spaghetti and meat sauce. My brother Tim and his wife Letty were all dressed up because they were headed to a wedding from our get-together. I don’t know why I had to explain that except for they are so dressed up compared to the rest of us.


Hope finally woke up and she just couldn’t take her eyes off of Jack. Jackson is my niece Michelle and Ryan’s 3 year old son. Michelle’s a blogger too and you’ll catch her in some of my photos with her camera in hand. Her blog is “Wait for It”


Some fun with Sweet Potatoes. Yes people there are going to be lots and lots of photos of Hope. I had to get my 4 hour fix before I see her again at Christmas.


After we stuffed ourselves with all that meat and salads and dessert we decided a walk down to the beach was in order. That’s the other great thing about Nick and Vera’s, it’s just a very short stroll to Huntington City Beach.



On our walk we met up with more guests for the evening and when we returned there was a gift for Hope. It was so stinkin sweet to watch her pat her Pooh Bear and give him loves.


We are so happy that our huge family does not overwhelm Hope. She seems to be able to relax with all of us. Did you catch Michelle with her camera?


Jackson entertained us with his dancing skills. He seems to be doing well with not having all the attention on him when Hope’s around.


Hope really lights up and kicks her feet when her Dzeda (grandfather) pays attention to her and he loves to entertain her. She loves her baba (grandmother). Aunt Kathy is great too. Now look at that expression on daddy and Hope’s face…hmmm.

Thanks Nick and Vera for opening your home for another fun get together.

Here’s the verse that Leonard and Mandy chose for Hope’s Baby Announcement ~

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, Therefore I have Hope in Him.”

Photobucket is holding all my photos that I posted on my blog from 2007-2015 hostage and replaced them with big black and grey boxes with threats. So discouraging…as I’m slowly trying to clean up thousands of posts!

8 Random Things About My Kitchen ~ Meme

Hello everyone! We made it to Seattle at 12:30 A.M. this morning. 17 hours on the road. I’m brain dead but I had this little meme in my drafts and decided I needed to put something new to look at on my blog. Since the kitchen and cooking and eating and fellowship were the theme of the last 3 days I thought this was a good filler for the time being. Hope to get around soon and see what you are all up to! Blessings.

Here’s a little Meme about the Kitchen. List 8 random things about your kitchen. You can combine things about your kitchen with your cooking style…

1. My Kitchen in my home in Washington is also my Dining Room. It all happens in here….

2. I have a gas stove top that is separate from my electric double oven.

3. A center rectangular work area with cabinets and a section of bar seating doubles as a buffet service area.

4. My kitchen has loads of cabinets that were an Oak finish and Dear painted them for me in two shades of green with my walls an even darker shade of the same green tone.

5. We used to have fluorescent light fixtures in this space that we jokingly said we could do surgery under. Dear replaced them with recessed lighting and drop down pen lights over my Island and a light fixture over our table.

6. We have seated up to 16 people around our dining room table!

7. We like to cook classic comfort food and also experiment with the latest recipes we see on Food Network!

We clean up all the messes in this wonderful sink. It’s deep and wide and I can fit a cookie sheet in here and my large pots and pans.

8. We love to share our space and our food with no expectations of reciprocation…

If you’d like to participate in this meme please do and let me know if you do…

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.

Set the Table, Tea is On!

This weeks tea challenge for the Gracious Hospital-I-Tea Blog-a-thon is to share a creative afternoon tea table, linens, serving pieces, teapots and teacup, etc. This is your opportunity to show the world the fun you have when you create your own special tea experience.

I have 3 tea settings to share from previous posts. My first one I’m sharing is my Tea for One.


In the past I’ve collected napkin rings. This silver ring with the E on it is my personal napkin ring. The little tea pot is from Russia and has a huge matching pot that I’ll show during “The Pouring Teapot”. I have a couple little tea mugs instead of tea cups with saucers. The white/clear depression glass plates and creamer and sugar are from our handed down stash from Dear’s side of the family. The silverplate candy dish was a wedding gift.


The Tablecloth is one of several vintage ones I have from my MIL’s collection.


“Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors.”
Alice Walker

A beautiful afternoon for tea…

For more “Set the Table” posts visit 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!