2013 Recap…the Joys, the Sorrows…

Here are my collages from January to December of 2013. I had to make 2 collages for September and 3 collages for December. September had our high and our low of the year. December starts with Laura’s birthday, our anniversary, Christmas and then Katie’s birthday. Too many events for one collage…

pancakes1-001We had a quiet start to the year with our first ever experience with Hoar Frost. Our sons both had birthdays in January turning 32 and 34.


In February Katie came to stay with us for a month while Andrew had cold weather training in California. My cousin and his wife came for a visit, too. After 38 years we finally had our dining chairs recovered in leather. We are very happy with them. We also took a drive to see the Skagit Eagles.

2013-03-025March was filled with wonderful experiences. We took Katie to see her brother’s property in Eastern Washington. The beginning of the Sounders soccer season. Katie, Laura and I flew to Southern California for my niece Debbee’s bridal shower. Such a good time with my sisters, nieces, and cousins. Katie returned to North Carolina to reunite with Andrew as he arrived back from training just as Dear and I flew to Milan, Italy. This was my first time in Europe and we arrived in Milan on my birthday. I went to my first international soccer game and enjoyed traveling to Lake Como to experience a more quaint side of Italy.

90th-001The night we all arrived in Orange County for my niece’s wedding we got together with Dear’s side of the family for a meal at our hotel. Debbee and Lenny’s wedding was at the end of April in Huntington Beach, California on a Friday night. Another wonderful gathering with my extended family. On Saturday of this same weekend we planned a 90th birthday/ 70th wedding anniversary celebration for my mom and pop. Little did we know my mom only had 4-1/2 more months on this earth.  On Sunday we had brunch together at my sister’s in Huntington Beach and then we all walked to the beach to enjoy the surf and sand.

Canadian Geese1-001

May brought our Celebrations book launch in British Columbia. Such a good time for the 10 of us to be together. Mother’s Day is of course in May, too and I was treated to 2 beautiful Mother’s Day bouquets from my children.

USA-Panama2-001In June I traveled with the Mennonite Girls to Manitoba for several book events in Steinbach and Winnipeg. Josh treated me to a club box soccer experience for the Panama/USA soccer game. We also were happy to attend Marie’s bridal shower here in Washington and be representatives for our nephew Caleb’s side of the family.

Pictures14-001In July we finally began work on replacing all our old floors in this old house. July also brought the news that my mom had flat-lined and was in the hospital. Those of us from out of state flew to Southern California to be with my mom and pop and face the news of my mom’s future on this earth. My mom was released from the hospital to Hospice care at her and my pop’s apartment.

Hatzic-001August brought more home improvements with the carpeting going in and new closet organization. We flew to Southern California again for our nephew Caleb’s wedding and while we were there we were all able to say our in person final farewells to my mom. We came home knowing that her time was short. Dear, Josh, Laura and I were leaving for England on September 12th and my family decided that if my mom died we would postpone the funeral till our return from England. Just before we left for England Dear and I were able to drive to British Columbia for a celebration meal with some of the “girls” and their husbands at Anneliese’s parents cabin at Hatzic.

London-Jamie Oliver2-001From September 12th until September 23rd we enjoyed a wonderful trip in England with Josh and Laura. We received the news that my mom had passed away just as we arrived in England. We were sorry we could not communicate right away and get details until we reached our first destination with wifi. We stayed calm and carried on knowing that there was nothing we could do. Our trip was filled with many great events and destinations. We went to a Manchester United Soccer game (epic experience for our son Josh) We enjoyed hedgerows, villages, canals, ancient churches and lands. We stayed in the Cotswolds, Wells, Cornwall, and London.

2013-09-029We got home from England and made plans immediately to fly to Southern California for my mom’s services. We all flew in to Orange County airport from different parts of Washington. Katie was staying with us during this time (she arrived the end of August with Andrew and he left back to N.C. on Labor Day)  Andrew deployed to Afghanistan the week of my mom’s funeral. We also celebrated Dear’s 60th birthday in September.

2013-10-31 Faerie - banner-001In October Marg and John joined us for a soccer game between our team and their team. Their team won. Some of my nieces from Southern California came up for a girls weekend and we had a great time trying to get through all of Downton Abby seasons 1-3. Katie and I traveled to British Columbia again to join the “girls” at the West Coast Women’s show where we had cooking demonstrations on the cooking stage.

2013-11-29 T-Day at Spiros1-001In November we had our brilliant Pub night to thank our friend who made arrangements for us to use his parents home in Cornwall on our England trip. We had an early Thanksgiving celebration and met Dan’s girlfriend, Jaimie. Besides a traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the trimmings we managed to get together at Palisade for brunch the next day.

Sounders mtg1-001December was packed full of good times and celebrations. We celebrated Laura’s birthday at Neville’s a British restaurant. Katie and I traveled to Abbotsford, B.C. for the Cookie class that the Mennonite Girls Can Cook put on at Lepp Farm Market. Dear and I celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary at Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, Washington.  Josh and I also went to a board meeting for the Sounders soccer team where we got to meet some of the players. And all of this happened the first 10 days of December!

2013-12-021Katie and I took a train trip up to Vancouver, Washington before Christmas and the day after we had snow at our house! Christmas Eve we helped usher at one of the services at church and then came home for a non traditional meal of hand made tamales. Later that evening Dan arrived from Eastern Washington and Josh and Laura arrived after celebrating with Laura’s family. We all woke up together on Christmas morning except for Andrew. We missed having Andrew here. Christmas was relaxing and fun. The English Cracker tradition will now become our tradition as well. It was so much fun to see what popped out of our crackers and then to read the cheesy jokes and wear the tissue crowns. Fun times.

2013-12-28 KT b-day dinner-001Katie’s birthday is December 27th so we had a day of destinations that were all enjoyable ending with dinner at this old house with Josh, Laura, my sister Lana and BIL Steve, our nephew Caleb and his wife Marie and of course the master of this old house and his wife…me.

I talked to my pop today who is struggling with pain in his shoulder and is probably facing some surgery to help with the debilitating pain. He misses my mom but still he thanks God for all that God brings his way. He told me he has asked God to shorten his days on this earth. He is weary. We thank God, too, for all He brought our way in 2013. Time will tell what 2014 holds.

We had a very quiet New Year’s Eve until the fireworks started going off at 11:30 P.M. I was in bed by 9:00 and woke up to hear others blasting in the New Year. I rolled over and went back to sleep. Today we are having another quiet day. We watched the Rose Parade and watched a couple New Year’s day soccer games from England and now we are watching the Rose Bowl Game.

When it Rains it Pours…

After all the fires that burned so many hillsides in Southern California a rain event here can trigger mudslides and flash floods without much warning. The rain here in the Camarillo area has been coupled with heavy winds so eucalyptus debris is just flying through the air. The air smells of eucalyptus which is a nice change from other smells we can get because of the extensive farming in this area. Weather advisories are streaming across the television.




Looks pretty scary! Hopefully the predictions won’t come through…

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.

Friday ~ Finding Beauty

Claudia at Dipity Road is starting a new meme for Friday called Finding Beauty. Click on over to check it out and join in if you’d like…

After I returned to the condo in Southern California from our home in Washington State I felt the need to hit the beach and catch some of the winter beauty here in Southern California. This was taken at Pt. Mugu on Wednesday of this week.
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.

Road Trip, Overnight Guests, and Reunions Oh My!

Today I’m doing all the last minute things I need to do for our trip back to the Condo in Southern California. Our daughter Katie and her boyfriend Ben are road tripping with us and then staying in Southern California with us for a week. My brother Leonard and his wife Mandy and their daughter Miss Hope arrive in Southern California on Tuesday. We have extended family events planned for the week. I do not know how much blogging will occur.

I wanted to share some fun events coming up in blog land with you before I disappear for a while.

On Tuesday August 18th I’m pleased to announce I’ll be guest posting on Sandy’s blog ~4 Reluctant Entertainers. If you’ve never visited her blog you should. She really is a gifted lady and has great ideas on incorporating hospitality in your home. You’ll also enjoy her recipes and photographs.

On Saturday August 22nd the next Round Robin Photo Challenge is Birds! Don’t let this one fly by! You can sign up for this challenge by following the simple directions here.

On Tuesday August 25th there’s a Let there be White Party hosted by Kathleen at Cuisine Kathleen. Click on over to get the details…

On August 28th there’s a Show Us Your Roosters party hosted at Bella Vista by Barb.

Then on September 11th there’s a 2nd Cloche Party hosted by Marty at A Stroll Thru Life.

Hope to see you all soon.

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.

3 Hours on the Road for Family Time…Priceless!


My parents with Miss Hope. My brother and our cousin Tanya. Tanya is my mother’s niece.


My mom is one great cook. She made us a Deviled Egg Casserole (yummy), these lovely vegetable and fruit trays and then she surprised us with Vareniki on top of everything else. We were all in culinary heaven! I’m going to get the Deviled Egg Casserole Recipe to share with y’all.


Miss Hope, My Sil Mandy, Raiya a Russian friend of ours and my cousin Tanya. Raiya flew down from Oregon to care for my cousin Tanya who is recuperating from surgery…

I left the house at 9:45 A.M. and got home at 3:30 P.M. All in all the California Freeways were kind to me today :0)

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.

Outdoor Wednesday ~ Walk with Willow…

It’s almost time to join in on Outdoor Wednesday. Susan at A Southern DayDreamer is our hostess for this weekly event. My outdoor photos were taken on a walk with my bloggy friend Willow in her neighborhood. These were taken on Monday of this week in Southern California.

This was a day that we spotted deer again. After uploading this photo I was surprised at how Fall like the colors were.

Same hour different scenery with more Spring like colors.

Don’t forget to look up. I love this view of the tree against the blue sky!

For more Outdoor Wednesday please visit Susan here.

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.

From Flowers to Reality T.V. Friday’s Fave Five…

Whoa…where has the week gone? It’s time to look back and pick some favorites. There is so much to choose from. Susanne has room for you to join in if you’d like to post your Five Favorites from the past week. Click over to Living to Tell the Story to join on in or see some Favorites.

One of my favorites are these new bookcases that Dear put together and I filled in our Living Area. We are really enjoying the new look this achieved and I’m enjoying seeing some of my pretties out from their hiding places.


My next favorite is being surrounded by live flowers this week. We bought a few Gerber Daisies at the Farmer’s Market and then on Valentine’s Day our kids sent us the beautiful bouquet of Lilies. (Of course that bouquet is my very favorite because they came unexpectedly from our kids) Then I got 2 dozen free roses from the little Thrift store I frequent. I think that God is so good to us to have created flowers of so many colors and varieties for us to enjoy. Don’t flowers just make you smile??

Call my next favorite a confession of my not so secret obsession. I love Reality TV. Not all Reality mind you just Biggest Loser, American Idol, Top Chef, Amazing Race, Project Runway, and Survivor. Can you still be my friend after I’ve made this confession? Good thing we have DVR so I don’t have to be home every night to watch these shows! For those of you who watch Top Chef, Fabio’s restaurant in Moorpark is not that far from us so Dear and I plan to go soon…


Onward and Upward…my next favorite was weather in Southern California this past week. Look at the contrast over a 24 hour period in Southern California. Tuesday Evening we had those great clouds that had brought rain earlier in the day and then the next afternoon not a cloud in the sky. It’s been cooler, too, which is a nice change for us in Southern Cal.

Last for this week are Willow and my walks and the fact that Dear and I continue to work out on the Bowflex and try to get our walking in too. We are starting to see and feel some results which are motivating us to continue. Us older folk need to keep our muscle tone up… Willow and I took photos of each other this week on a fun little path behind her neighborhood. We promised each other not to take photos of our behinds going up the path and steps. Little favors go a long way with body self esteem :0)

Maybe next week I’ll be brave enough for Dear to take a photo of me grimmacing on the Bowflex!

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.

Snow at My House in Washington!!


My daughter sent me these photos that she took at our house in Washington State today! She measured the snow at 3 inches and said it is coming down steadily…


This is the view from our front door looking at our neighbors homes.



Views looking out to our deck and garage.


My kids are staying put at home today. I hope they have a good stash of food to eat :0)

We even got snow in our Southern California Mountains and in some lower elevations.

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.

Sky Watch Friday ~ The Good and the Tragic Skies…


Beautiful clear skies early last week with wonderful Poinsettias growing on the side of the road…


Then the Santana winds blew in sparking major fires in Southern California.


The smoke from all the fires made for an intense golden fiery sunrise on Saturday last week…

We in Southern California are so happy the fires from last week and weekend are under control. Many have lost everything and our hearts go out to them and our prayers continue for them. My nephews college in Montecito (Santa Barbara Area) had to shut down until December 1st because of damages from the fires. 14 faculty houses burned down besides some dorm rooms…

For more Sky Watch visit the SkyWatch Blog.

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!

Blue Monday ~ Hooray for Firemen!!


I took this photo of this fire engine on our way to dinner last Wednesday with no idea how important these trucks and firemen would become on Thursday and through the weekend here in Southern California. We have had fire after fire here and our men in blue have come to the aid of anyone in the path of these fires. Our hearts are full of gratitude and our prayers continue for their safety and their courage and their strength as the daunting task of fighting some fires goes on. Things have improved but there are still fires to fight. Thank you to all the firemen and policemen who are serving the Public. God bless you everyone…

For more Blue Monday Posts please visit Smiling Sally here.

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!