Final Five Hats for Now…

It’s time for Five on Friday and Friday’s Fave Five again. Thank you Amy and Susanne for hosting these weekly memes.

Here are five more hats I’ve worn or continue to wear.

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#1 Self Employed Business Owner of Fresh Start a house cleaning and office cleaning business.

I started this business when we moved from California to Washington State while Dear attended the University of Washington to complete his degree and enter the School of Pharmacy. It was a successful business for the years he was in school and during his residency. Our sons were in elementary school at this time and our daughter was just 3 years old. My mother in law moved to Washington with us and she watched our daughter while I was cleaning during the day. I was usually home by the time our sons got home from school. At night Dear and I would clean a medical clinic and a dental clinic while our kids were asleep and Dear’s mother was home with them. This was a hat I was very happy to hang up when Dear got a full-time job in his new Pharmacy field. Dear was 40 when he completed his studies and got his first job at a biotech company in Seattle.

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#2 Homeschool teacher for our daughter Katie.

When our daughter Katie was in fourth grade she began to show signs of stress and anxiety about school. We discovered she was being persecuted by several girls in her “gifted” class. We decided to pull her out of school and I homeschooled her for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. It was a good healing time for her and after these years she announced she was ready to go back to school for the 7th grade. The rest of her schooling went well and she finished strong including being a National Merit Scholar.

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#3 Soccer Mom and avid Soccer Fan

My love for soccer/futbol began in the 80’s when our sons and daughter started playing on club teams and school teams. It escalated with the 1994 World Cup here in the United States. I took our sons to the training ground for the U.S.A. team and to their hotel and they were able to get autographs from all the players. We were able to go to a few of the games in Los Angeles and one game at Stanford. Currently we are season ticket holders for the Seattle Sounders. When in Milan, Italy I attended a game and in England we got the great experience of a Man U. game at Old Trafford.

We purchased these two Newsweek Magazines that were published during World Cup and the boys were able to get the player featured to autograph the cover. Later I had them framed.

Understanding the development of the plays on the field are key to enjoying soccer. I realize Soccer is boring for many but not me and I’m happy it’s getting more popular in the United States.

#4 Blogger

In March of 2007 my brother Steve forced helped me start up a blog. I didn’t know how to upload, download, or attach anything. I didn’t know what a URL was. I was afraid to punch a publish button. Little by little, step by step, I learned some of the ins and outs of blogging. At the time I started blogging Dear and I were living in a condo in Camarillo, California. I had lots of time on my hands with a home I could clean in 45 minutes tops and no yard to bother with.

In February of 2008 I met my first bloggy friend in Camarillo, Willow from Willow’s Cottage. We met for coffee and after we figured out we were comfortable with each other we made a plan to start walking together. We walked 2 or 3 times a week for 1 hour until 2010 when Dear and I moved back to Washington State.  Willow shared how she had been praying for a walking buddy. I still miss my great walking buddy, our conversations, our tea times, and the support we gave each other. You’ll find a link to Willow’s Cottage on my side bar. And I need to mention she’s a master knitter.

Bloggers I’ve met in person are Willow (California), Sara (California), Cori G! (California), Pondside (Vancouver Island), Jill (Utah), Ruth (California), and Wreathmaker (Millie) in Manitoba. Hope to meet more in the future.

#5 Cookbook Author with the Mennonite Girls Can Cook

This last hat is one of those surreal things that has happened to me because of blogging. While connecting to different blogs around the world I stumbled upon Lovella’s blog and noticed Paska (Russian Easter Bread) on her side bar. I wondered (note the name of my blog ~ The Happy Wonderer) why a Canadian who didn’t have a Russian name was baking Paska. Well come to find out this group of Canadian Mennonites had ancestors who settled in the Ukraine from Germany and through the years added Russian recipes to their heritage recipes and passed them down to their children. Lovella started a cooking blog and in time asked me to be a contributor to the blog since I am full blooded Russian and many of my mother’s recipes are the same as their mother’s recipes. In time our blog, Mennonite Girls Can Cook, became very popular and a publisher asked us to work on a cookbook for them to publish. The ten of us met all together face to face for the very first time to sign the contract for the book in September of 2010. Our first cookbook was published in May of 2011 and our second cookbook was published in Spring of 2013. All proceeds of our author royalties go to feed or help widows and orphans in the Ukraine and Africa and other countries. This was a decision the ten of us were most comfortable with.

The fun hasn’t stopped yet. We are now working on a Devotional with some recipes included. This book will be published later this year in time for a play (comedy) called Mennonite Girls Can Cook that hits the stage at the Blue Gate Theater in Shipshewana, Indiana. This one really caught us by surprise. More news on these events to follow.

Thank you for visiting and reading my hat posts. Hope you are all doing well. I just found out my neighbor Pat has stage 4 cancer (just diagnosed today). I caught her adult girls outside to ask if something was wrong with their mom. They shared with me about their mom’s diagnosis. Hug each other and love each other well. You never know what tomorrow brings.

And So It Begins…

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The fun has started on our main floor bathroom. Dear will be doing all the stripping of the old materials ahead of the bath renovators coming in later in July. We have to start ahead of time because we are weekend warriors. We have one more group event at our home that we will need the toilet for this Thursday so the major demo work won’t be until next weekend. Today that old window is coming out and hopefully by Sunday afternoon the new window will be in. The new window is being moved over to the next stud so we have room for a wider bathtub and surround.  The window project will involve some outdoor siding work also.

For now the tub is being used for trash!

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Once the project is over I will share the before and after photos!

I’ll manage to fit in some soccer watching today, too. World Cup is starting this Thursday and I’m getting excited. Do you watch soccer at your house? I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I happen to really enjoy the sport.

What are you up to this weekend?

Rain Won’t Stop…

…our parade!

We had a full day of celebrating this past Saturday and we didn’t let the pouring rain dampen our spirits or our celebrating.

sounders-Wilma4The opening game for our Sounders Soccer season was at noon on Saturday. The first thing I noticed as we entered the Club level of the stadium was this great new vendor addition. They really know their team colors. This is good marketing.

sounders-Wilma1Opening the game with the National Anthem and all the branches of the military represented is one of my favorite parts of being at the game instead of watching it from home. Our soccer crowd sings along and it’s great to hear close to 40,000 people singing.

sounders-Wilma3There are lots of creative ideas to get the fans behind the team and to keep us cheering. The blue and green plastic squares were in our cup holders and they had blue sections and green sections and had us all hold up our squares at once. Fun times. At every kickoff the green streamers fly. Our most expensive player, Clint Dempsey, has lots of fans and someone created a Dempseyland banner using Disneyland printing. Fun times.

P1040873We are fortunate to have our season tickets under some cover so the rain does not fall freely on our heads. If the wind picks up we can get some rain blown our way but for the most part we stay dry when others in the stadium get soaked.

Of course it would have been a bummer if after all this we would have lost the game but I’m happy to say we won. It took till the very last minute of the game but we won and we left elated and ready to face the horrible downpour and slick roads home. Once home we got ready for our next fun event.

P1040898Our Laura’s grandmother, Wilma, turned 90 this week and we all got together to celebrate her 90 years at her favorite restaurant.

sounders-WilmaWilma is such a sweet lady and we are so happy to have gotten to know her since Josh and Laura got married.

P1040896Isn’t the cake great?

These two events on the same day really brought a lot of sunshine into my world.

I’m linking up with Sunlit Sunday  at My Little Home and Garden and Mosaic Monday at Little Red House.

What is brightening up your world these days?

Theatre of Dreams ~ Old Trafford

‘This is Manchester United football club, this is the theatre of dreams.’

The phrase coined by Sir Bobby Charlton in John Riley’s book simply entitled ‘Soccer’ 26 years ago has stuck in the period of unprecedented success which the Red Devils enjoyed under the tenure of Sir Alex Ferguson. From the Glaswegian’s appointment in November 1986, this cathedral of British football has undergone a dramatic transformation to become arguably the finest club ground in English football.

Man U 035We searched on line to get tips about getting to the stadium and parking for the soccer game. We found the neighborhood suggested to park in and followed the crowds walking to the stadium.

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We had our Seattle Sounders gear with our Sounders/Manchester United friendly match scarf. It was fun that a few people walked up to us recognizing that we were from Seattle and were welcoming.

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We had enough time before kick off to take some photos and check out the Mega Store! Yikes was that huge with wall to wall people in it.

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Our tickets included a club entrance separate from general entrances and a private lounge to enjoy snacks and drinks before the game and during half time. We also got a free program with our tickets.

We enjoyed our seats and the crowd. We had heard some horror stories about sitting in the stands that didn’t pan out in our experience. The seats were comfortable and the people around us were polite.

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The excitement in the stadium reached an elevated pitch when Maraouane Fellaini took the field for the first time as a “Red”. Many of the fans donned wigs that tried to match Fellaini’s hair.

Marouane Fellaini has described his deadline-day move to Manchester United as a ‘dream’, and hopes to repay David Moyes’ faith in him by joining the long list of greats at Old Trafford.

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There was a solid line of security between the home fans and the visiting fans. The chants from the two groups always get quite heated and aren’t flattering to their opponents for sure.

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We took one last photo of all of us together enjoying experiencing a dream come true for Josh. This wouldn’t be the one and only game that Josh got to attend in England. While we were in London he took a chance at buying a last minute ticket to a sold out Arsenal game in Northern London close to the stadium where the game would be played. An older woman who was meeting someone to sell her 2 season tickets to decided that she’d like to enjoy the game with Josh after talking to him. We were happy for Josh to get his 2nd experience in an English Premier game atmosphere! We shopped while Josh enjoyed the game and then we met up at Selfridges on Oxford Street.

Five Amazing Things…

I have time this Friday to join in with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for Friday’s Fave Five! It’s been awhile and it will probably be a couple weeks before I can join in again.

This is a post about amazing things. The most amazing thing is that Jesus Christ laid down his perfect life to save all who are lost in their own sin. I was lost in myself and now I see how big my God is and how he saved me with His perfection…Jesus Christ.

Our son Dan sent me this photo from his yard over the internet. Amazing things…beautiful lilac, a lovely butterfly and the internet where I can enjoy this photo minutes after our son took it from 6 hours driving distance away!

Amazing how time flies! Weren’t we just celebrating Christmas!? Here we are on the brink of June!

It’s amazing to me that we are planning a trip to Great Britain in September with our son and his dear wife. Their first time, Dear and my 6th time together. Very excited to see England on our son and daughter in law’s terms. Each of our children are different and England holds so much to see to cover each of their particular interests. With Katie it was mostly literary, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen. With Josh it has to include Soccer! Laura and I will push for the quaint and lovely and probably a play or musical to enjoy…

Last amazing thing is related to our daughter’s literary interests. We found this Christmas card/offer from Dear to our Katie to read a book out loud to her when she was 3. She turned 4 just after Christmas that year and asked Dear to read her The Hobbit. He read it out loud to her and she recalls the fact that he used several different voices for the different characters in the book. Dear bought this copy of The Hobbit on one of his trips to England in the early 70’s. Our Katie to this day is the most interested in reading and enjoys several literary styles. The card had an expiration date on it added by her dad and Katie crossed it out and added the “Not expirable”. Katie is quite amazing as she was reading and understanding a wide vocabulary at a very early age.

I’m so looking forward to catching up with all the FFF participants and seeing what’s new in your worlds…

San Siro Stadium ~ A.C. Milan

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I’m happy to say I made it to my first International soccer game in a country other than my own! I’ll have lots to share about this day later with more photos.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone. I quite by mistake ordered this drink and when it came to the table in it’s green glory it reminded me what day it was. The Italians don’t give much thought to St. Patrick’s day.

Dear Lord,
Give me a few friends
who will love me for what I am,
and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope…
And though I come not within sight
of the castle of my dreams,
teach me to be thankful for life,
and for time’s olden memories
that are good and sweet.
And may the evening’s twilight
find me gentle still.

God bless you all my dear friends!

The Season Begins…

Although we didn’t win it was nice to get rolling again. It was especially nice to enjoy the game with 3 of our 5!

For those of you who aren’t major league soccer fans this was the Seattle Sounders opener against Toronto. It was nice that Katie could join us while she is in town.

We’ve gotten to be friends with the season ticket holders around us. It comes in handy when you want them to take a photo, too!

I love that we always begin with National anthems and that the military in our area is so well represented. I’m a little partial to the Marines!

Since we were playing a Canadian team, their flag was represented, too. We listened to a beautiful rendition of “O Canada” in English with some French thrown in. They could have been better guests, though, and let us win. Aye!

Another fun season of “raising our scarves”…and wearing our rave green!

Our Emerald City Supporters really go the extra mile. The other Major League Soccer clubs have learned a lot from our Seattle Sounders supporters. This next photo does not represent most of the fans.

I don’t know how they were able to fall asleep but I’m glad I was able to catch them in the act! Speaking of sleep, I’m going to be sleeping at our son’s home in Eastern Washington for the next couple of nights so you probably won’t be hearing from me.

Have a great week!