Friday, August 30, 2013

Gracie and Carolyn!!!!

Pretty Yarn! A gift from Gracie.  The pink is for the mitten project and the beautiful Heritage Mulberry Silk is for a scarf for me. Isn't she the sweetest? 
So here is quick post to let you know that I had a wonderful time with Gracie and her sister Carolyn this morning. They had a very long drive yesterday from Wyoming and ending at our house at almost 10:00 last night. We visited for awhile, but after almost 16 hours in the car, sleep was calling for them!
Gracie and I had a nice long chat over tea this morning while Carolyn slept.

Oh how nice it was to be able to visit for a few hours with no hurry.
After a leisurely breakfast we loaded up their car and headed to Paradise Fibers for yarn therapy. I think it was a good decision.

We rested for awhile in the knitting area and then we had to say our sad good-byes. They headed off to Portland but I'll be seeing her again soon because we have a lunch date planned for October 4 with Teresa and Taci.

Now I'm off to the lake. Have a lovely weekend my friends.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Happy Thursday!

What a happy day this is! This evening I'm expecting Gracie at and her sister Carolyn to visit me and stay the night. Tomorrow we're going to Paradise Fibers and, if I can talk them into it, Hobby Lobby. They have been on a wonderful trip to Nebraska to visit family and are now on their way back to Portland, OR. Oh, it's exciting to have Gracie visit me here in Spokane and I'm looking forward to meeting her sister too. Then, next month when I'm in Portland for Miss Piper's first birthday, Gracie, Taci and Teresa and I already have a lunch date set up! The joys of blogland. I'm so happy I made this foray into the interworld! I've made such lovely, lovely friends that I never would have met otherwise. So Gracie and Carolyn have a loonng drive ahead of them today. They stayed in Gillette, WY last night. I figure that's a good 12-13 hour drive. Please pray for safety for them as they travel the mountain passes and all the way across the huge state of Montana.

I've been at the lake all week and have been busy knitting, but I forgot to bring my finished objects home to take photos. I'll try to remember for my next post. I'm working exclusively on mittens at the moment. There are two ladies in our church who are elementary school teachers. They happen to be a mom-in-law and daughter-in-law. Mom teaches at a school with fairly wealthy students and daughter teaches at one of the poorest, if not the poorest schools in Spokane. They give that dubious distinction by the number of free lunches the students receive. Her school is at 86% getting free lunches. She told me last week that when it gets cold the students come to school with no hats or mittens. Ladies, it gets well below freezing here in Spokane. That just breaks my heart. So. I've made myself a goal to knit 100 pairs of mittens by the end of October. In the last week I've knitted 8 pair, so I'm on my way!!!! I've given her a few backpacks that I found on sale and have told her to let me know of any school supplies she needs for her classroom. We're are definitely NOT rich and watch our pennies very closely, but compared to these kids, we ARE rich. It is such a joy to share and give to others.

Now, I'm not saying this to "toot my own horn". I want to encourage all of you to find some small, or maybe big, if it's in the realm of possibility, way to help someone else today or sometime soon. It's easy to give to our families and friends. It's also easy for me to say, "Well, if their parents didn't smoke, or drink, or, or, or...they would have the money to buy this stuff for their kids." It took me a long time to get past that attitude and it still rears it's ugly head sometimes. But, I always remind myself that it's not the little ones who should suffer and then it's easy to give.

Okay. Off my soapbox for the day! I hope I haven't offended anyone by my words but as a fellow blogger said, "It's my blog and I have the right, no, the need, to share what's on my heart." And my heart always goes out to the littlest in our world.

Hubby has Tuesday and Wednesday off next week so we both get to stay at the lake until next Thursday. I'm so happy about that. Although he comes out after work every night, he misses the quiet weekdays there. The weekends when he is there tend to be busier with all of the working people. It's SO quiet during the week, especially at this time of year. The kids are all in school and it's just us old people there.

We went thrifting last weekend to a couple of little places close to our camper and I found these adorable pyrex bowls. I only paid 25 cents for both of them! Apparently vintage pyrex is all the rage right now. They are small. 2 cup and 3 cup sizes and will be perfect to give to Mandy. I told her about them and she seems happy to have them. Perfect for making little meals for Miss Piper.

Okay. I guess I need to get busy and start knitting! Those mittens won't knit themselves. :-) For my American friends, enjoy the last long weekend of summer!



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Empty Nest

Well that's it. Everyone is gone. My dear MIL left Tuesday afternoon, after which I RAN as fast as I could, or drove as the case may be to the LAKE. I needed it. Oh yes I did. Our house is now so, so empty and I hate it. Don't get me wrong. I love my alone time. My quiet time. But I love my family more and that includes Mom. She's seriously considering selling her house in Nebraska and moving out here to live with us permanently. We shall see. For my part it would be a huge adjustment. I know that and I'm not pretending it wouldn't be, but it would also ease a lot of stress and worry having her so far away from us.

So I stayed two nights at the lake and came home this morning to prepare for Bible study here tonight. We're actually having a potluck/birthday party for a lady who is turning 52 next week and has never in her life had a birthday party. Can you imagine? It's a surprise for her. I've ordered a cake and knitted her up a couple of washcloths and I have some homemade lavender soap to give her. Another lady has ordered balloons and everyone is bringing food. Our group won an ice-cream social from our benevolence ministry, (by donating the most food items during our foodbank drive). We're going to have the social tonight too. Groan. Just thinking of the potluck, birthday cake and ice cream with all the fixings makes me feel full! But I know we'll have fun.

Tomorrow, bright and early I'm headed back to the lake for the weekend plus a few days! Fun times. I have to enjoy all of these days I can because would you believe I saw geese flying south for the past two days? It seems a bit early and I'm afraid it means a harsh winter. Last year it was the end of September before we noticed them heading south.

I did take a few pictures of the beautiful moon that my blog friend Teresa posted about. She has lots of interesting facts in her blog and you can find her in my sidebar. My photo's aren't nearly as good even though I believe we have the same camera. She's much more talented as a photographer than I am. I think she said it's called an "alternate blue moon".

And then we had lots of smoke from the forest fires around us and there was a spooky halo around it the next night.

We have pretty solar lights behind the trailer and throughout the campsite that throw pretty "sparkles" of light all night long. Do you like them?

Here are a few more pictures of our kids at the lake. All three generations of men in our family. Of course pretty Piper in her floatie and Grandma helping Kyleigh float around on her "noodle".

Oops! A picture out of order at Red Robin. Uncle Alex and his faithful co-horts for the weekend. They were never very far away from him.

I have no idea why the captions are messed up in this post and not above or below the photos. Why are they beside them and not even next to the correct photo? Who knows. It's blogger! But I think you get the idea.

We had a wonderful, wonderful time and now it's back to the regular schedule of life. Bah Humbug!

Have a wonderful weekend my friends and enjoy every moment with the precious family and friends that God has blessed you with.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Family Fun

Hello Everyone! Oh my goodness we have had fun at our house over the past two weeks. Mom will leave for Nebraska on Tuesday afternoon and Alex left for Japan this past Thursday. Mandy, Jamie and their families headed home to Oregon and Montana last Sunday. It's so hard to see them go when we don't know when we'll be together as a family again. It's been 3 1/2 years, when Mandy & Brad got married, that we were all in the same place last.

But...I booked tickets to Tokyo for November for Hubby and I to go visit Alex again. The autumn leaves in Kyoto are said to rival New England colors. It was SO HARD to hug him goodbye on Thursday, only made easier by knowing we'll see him again soon.

I think everyone ate what they were supposed to and no food allergies were compromised. We had lots leftover that we've been eating this week. The highlight of the weekend was taking everyone swimming at the lake. It was a great hit and the first time our kids have gotten to enjoy it. Grandma and Alex stayed overnight there with us on Monday night and Alex was able to wakeboard with friends of ours who have a boat. They had tried waterskiing the night before with other friends. The water was REALLY choppy and they gave up, but not before Hubby pulled a hamstring muscle in his leg.

My best friend came by to take some family photos and here are a few for you.

The entire crew!

This is Hubby and me with our grandbabies.

Our kids. L to R - Jamie, Mandy, Brad and Alex Once a little brother, always a little brother, right? I just love these candid pictures the best don't you?

Mom with all of her Great-grandchildren.

Miss Piper

Alex and Brad. Brother-in-law's and great friends.

Grandma's girls.

Alex wakeboarding.

Alex and Hubby just before the hamstring incident!

Caleb says he's moving to Japan with Uncle Alex. Last time Alex was home, Caleb was too little to remember him. He was speaking Japanese before the weekend was over. His Uncle really is a great teacher!

Uncle Jamie and Piper formed a mutual admiration society! They love each other lots. It was really amazing how she took to him. As you can see by her bib, she's an official Nebraska Cornhusker mascot. :-)

One of my favorite pictures. Don't they look alike?

Okay. I know I've bored you enough for now. I had the cutest pictures of the kids in the lake but they are on my phone and somehow didn't do the whole Iphone syncing thingy with the computer that it was supposed to do. I'll try to figure that out for a future post. You're probably sick of our family pictures about now. I did manage to complete a little knitting in the past couple of weeks but I've already given two baby sets, (sweater, hat and sockies) away to the new moms. I'll try to get a picture of the blanket I finished today. It's going to the hospital for a baby in need.

Have a lovely evening and Monday everyone and I'll be back to my "normal" life soon. I hear from a nice little email that my blog friend Gracie and her sister are planning to visit me later this month and take a trip to Paradise Fibers with me. How exciting! Maybe I can get them to spend the night and we can have a little slumber party with yarny things included! Poor Hubby! :-)

Love and Blessings my friends.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Still here!

I'm still here my friends! 

We had a lovely weekend with all of our children and grandchildren and I can't wait to share pictures with you. My dear MIL is still visiting until next week though, and I honestly don't have a moment alone, (except sleeping and bathroom breaks.). I'm writing this on my phone while in bed!  I'm NOT complaining as I absolutely love have her here with us.  I'll write a longer post with pictures as soon as I can. But I wanted to tell all of you, my friends, just how glorious it was to have all of my babies, big and small home again.  There is nothing like that to brighten this Mothers heart.  :-)
I'll be back again soon.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Summer Days, Happy Days

Hello my friends!

Look at me, posting on a Monday! Shock of shocks! Tomorrow begins our influx of visitors and I'm not sure when I'll be back online so I thought I would pop in for a minute today. We had a busy weekend. It all started at the lake. Of course, where else would we be on an August Saturday? Hubby took Chloe for her morning walk and I made him a pot of coffee, (I don't drink it myself). When he came back he poured himself a cup of the brew and promptly dropped it on the carpet in the trailer. Poor Hubby. He felt so bad, but we were planning to come home Saturday anyway so we just left a little earlier than planned. We packed up and brought Chloe home and then went back to the lake with the trusty carpet cleaner. There now. Good as new. :-)

Yesterday I drove almost to Idaho and picked up our friend Yoshie and she spent the day with us. First on the day's plans was church and then she helped me cook the hospitality lunch for all the visitors. She was a trooper and even washed all the dishes! Afterwards we asked her how she wanted to spend the day. Since this is her 6th summer in Spokane she knows all of the local places to visit. She choose...wait for it...the lake! We didn't even suggest it to her thinking it would be a bit boring, but she remembered it from last year and asked to go. Our friends were there with their boat and they took us out for a ride around the lake. We had so much fun. Yoshie, the world traveler, had never been out on a small boat like this one. It goes really fast! Just look at the wake we're leaving behind us.

Then we took her to the home of the world famous Clayton Burger in Clayton, WA for a huckleberry shake. She loves huckleberries and our area is one of the few in the country that has them. Here is Hubby with Yoshie waiting for our shakes.

Then she spotted the beautiful sunflowers that I showed you in my last post. This was the result...

We so enjoyed our day with her. She goes back to Japan on Sunday with her twenty 14-15 year old students that she is herding around Washington state. By Thursday she'll be in Rome with a group of adult tourists that she's leading. She said the kids are sometimes easier than adults. I have to say that I understand, especially the way you see some so-called adults behaving these days. She was very excited to hear that Alex will be here on Wednesday and she will be back at our house for the afternoon then. Apparently she needs his help with some translation problems. They see each other once in awhile in Tokyo and she's excited that we're thinking of visiting there in November.

This morning I've been busy. Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and grocery shopping, prescription getting, Costco run. I'm exhausted and it's only 12:45! Most of the indoor work is done though and now I just have to make a macaroni salad and finish the laundry. Tonight Hubby and I will mow the grass and do the yard work. All will be ready for Mom to arrive tomorrow and I can visit with her. Hubby is taking vacation on Thurs. & Friday this week and the first three days of next week so he'll be home for most of Alex's visit.

OUR FAMILY ALL TOGETHER AGAIN!!!!! I am so excited! Can you tell? It's been 3 years and 3 months since we've all been together. My babies! Although, obviously they don't like to be called that, they will forever be my babies as all of you Mom's out there understand. And I love my MIL dearly and I'm looking forward to spending two whole weeks with her. She has never criticized my house-keeping or cooking or anything that I know of and we've always been friends. I've tried to get her to move here and live with us, but she's very independent.

Do any of you like Sweet Tea? My mom was from Missouri and I grew up drinking sweet tea. I cannot find a good glass of sweet tea here in the northwest anywhere. Yesterday I found a great recipe and tried it this morning. Just like Moms!!!!! Here it is:

Put 1 1/2 cups sugar in a gallon size pitcher. Boil 1/2 gallon of water. Remove from heat and steep 6 regular teabags or 3 family size bags for 5-6 minutes. Remove tea bags and return tea to stove and bring just to a boil. Pour over sugar in pitcher and stir. Add ice and cold water to fill pitcher. Oh my goodness this is yummy and brings back all of my childhood memories. I can see my Mom at the stove with a glass of ice tea next to her on the counter.

Okay friends. I'm off to finish my cooking. Have a lovely week. I'm going to leave you with a verse from the book of Ruth which seems fitting as my MIL is coming to visit. Ruth's MIL Naomi was urging her to go back to her own family after their husbands had both died. This was Ruth's response:

"Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God." Ruth 1:16

I hope that I would always show my dear Mom in law that much love and respect.

Blessings to you all,


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Happy Faces!

Aren't these sunflowers just the most cheerful flower? There is this HUGE and I mean HUGE field of sunflowers on our way to the lake. For the past two weeks I've been meaning to stop and take a picture and this morning, about an hour ago I did. They make me happy just to look at them. Do they have the same affect on you?

So, I must "fess" up. I've not been crafting much during the past few weeks. Oh, there has been a knitted row here and there and I did make a little bunny for Miss Piper that was inspired by Teresa's bunnies she made for her granddaughters, but nothing much compared to my usual output. My reason is simple, I've been at the beach reading and swimming. It's been really, really hot here for the past two weeks and it's been perfect swimming weather. Not knitting weather. :-) So I've been carrying a bag of water, sunscreen and books to the beach every day and taking a dip to cool off, then reading for awhile, taking a dip to cool off, repeat the cycle. Anyway, you get the drift. No knitting. No crocheting. No needlecrafts at all except a row or two on the baby blanket in the evenings while watching "America's Test Kitchen" on PBS. And that's okay. These wonderful summer days won't last forever and then I'll be back inside, confined by snow. Today is much cooler.

Chloe and I came home this morning to do a mountain of laundry and have Bible Study tonight. Tomorrow, bright and early, we'll be back a the lake for just a few days because Tuesday morning early, my dear MIL will be arriving for two weeks. Alex will be here from Japan on Wednesday and Mandy & Jamie and families will be here Thursday. Our little Japanese girl, (she's 36!), who has stayed with us for the past two years is with a different host family this summer. (They drew the line at the same family 3 years in a row.) However, we're picking her up early Sunday morning so she can go to church and then spend the day with us. Her name is Yoshie and I just love her. Do you remember her? She helped me pack all the contributions for the tsunami victims two years ago and her picture was on my blog.

This is a photo of when I arrived at Narita Airport in Tokyo two years ago. In the picture are, Mayako, (another girl who stayed with us-she's 14), Yoshie, (the groups translator and tour guide), myself and Alex, (our son). It was sweet of Mayako and Yoshie to make the trip to Narita with Alex to meet me as it's about 40 miles outside of the city. I'm sorry I can't find a photo of just Yoshie at this moment.

I had thought Mom was getting here late in the afternoon next Tuesday, but I just looked at her itinerary. Nope. She'll be here around 9:00 a.m. so that means I need to be at home Monday to buy groceries and get things in order. I'm stymied on what kind of meals to fix with two gluten free grandkids and one lactose/dairy/soy allergic child/mom. All of the usual fare is out. No burgers, pizza, waffles or pancakes. I usually make a braided yeast bread with fruit in it for breakfast, as it can raise overnight while we're sleeping and I can just pop it in the oven in the morning. That's out now too. The time for procrastination is over though and the visit is upon me and I STILL don't know what to fix. I think it will be bacon and eggs every morning and I'm told I can buy a gluten/dairy/soy free bread at Costco so maybe sandwiches for lunch. Kabobs with chicken, tomato, pineapple and potatoes for dinner one night. Any other ideas from you my friends? I don't want to spend a lot of time cooking since we only have two days with the entire family together, I want to enjoy and play with our grandbabies, not be cooking all the time.

I'll leave you with a few more pictures of our "garden" at the lake. All of you southerners, don't laugh. Our zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes are just setting on because our cold weather lasts so long up here. Remember, the lake is only about 70 miles from the Canadian border!

The first picture is, from left to right, cucumber, zucchini, summer squash. The second is our tomato plant. The last two are a few of my happy little pots that are placed here and there around our site. Eighteen of those pots, to be watered twice a day in the heat. I'm not sure I'll plant so many next year!

Have a lovely day my friends. "This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!"