Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Need to Use Up Tomatoes and Basil from the Garden?

This year I planted grape, cherry and beefstake tomatoes. It's been a long wait, but the grape tomatoes are finally ripe and the others are growing nicely. I'd say in a few weeks we'll have tomatoes coming out of our ears! 

I've been not-so-patiently waiting for the beefstake tomatoes to ripen so that I can make one of my favorite recipes. It's fresh and healthy, easy, and so tasty. I stopped by a local produce stand today and saw some beautiful large tomatoes... couldn't resist!  I picked up a few along with a bunch of garlic; then hurried home to make dinner.

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks: "Herbs In The Kitchen...A Celebration of Flavor" by Caroline Dille and Susan Belsinger. In addition to great recipes, the book has a wealth of information about herbs...from growing and drying them to their history.

Pasta with Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

1 1/4 lb firm-ripe tomatoes
2 or 3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
3 or 4 large basil sprigs
1/2 lb of pasta shells such as rotelle or other shaped pasta to catch the sauce
(I use whole wheat spaghetti instead)

Rinse tomatoes, core them, and cut them into 1/2 inch cubes. Mince garlic. Mix the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and the vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes if you like. Refrigerate the sauce for at least 30 minutes.
Cook pasta as directed. When the pasta is nearly al dente, tear or shred the basil leaves and add them to the sauce. When the pasta is just done, drain it and mix it with the sauce. Serve immediately.

Can you ever serve a pasta dish without adding a crusty loaf of french bread?
I think not!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Confessions of a Long-Distance Grandma

They left this morning; Heather and the kids. 'Leaving Day' is always hard for me. Today was worse than usual. Maybe it was the gray clouds. It might be because this is the second 'Leaving Day' this month. (My son John's family left two weeks ago after spending a week here, and I was very melancholy for a few days after that.)

Or perhaps it's because I'm so aware that time is passing swiftly. Jordynn, my oldest grand-daughter is no longer a child, but a young lady. And though I see my Portland grandchildren several times each year and we try to cram as many good times and happy memories into the summer weeks and the holiday weekends as possible... still I will not get to attend all of their birthday parties. I will miss seeing Isabella and Dane score soccer goals, and Junior's first touchdown. Sofie will grow like a little weed. In a year or so, the little red step-stool that I put in the bathroom so she can wash her chubby little hands by herself, will not be needed. It's likely that Jordynn will go to her first prom and I won't see her dress in person. I won't get to go to the pumpkin patch with Ana, or help her carve pumpkins.

This is the first time that I couldn't conceal my tears when they left. I went into the bathroom and splashed my face with cold water, took a deep breath, and walked out to the driveway for last minute hugs. Though I tried to hold it together, my heart sprung a leak and the tears sprang from my eyes.  I gave them quick hugs said good-bye with a croaky voice- then retreated into the house.

It was too early to start cleaning house, so I filled the tub with bubbles and crawled in with a new book. Koda wandered in and lay down on the bathmat to keep me company. She misses them too. I think later I'll walk to the Lynden Dutch Bakery and have some split pea soup with a raisin bun. Food always helps.

Soon I'll turn my thoughts and energies toward the school year. The Resource Room, where I work with special-needs and economically challenged children, will be full of new and returning students. Some will be happy and excited...some will be frightened and anxious. As I look into their little faces I will remember the vow that I made twelve years ago. That was the year that Heather and her husband Edgar relocated to Portland, taking my first and (then) only grandchild, Jordynn with them. I cried for two weeks. Then I dried my eyes and prayed this prayer..."Lord, if you will promise to take good care of my children and grandchildren--my babies...I give you my word that I will take good care of your babies. I will treat every child I teach with all of the tender-care and kindness that I would give to my own grandchildren."

I will keep my word, and God will keep His...soon I will be playing soccer with other people's grandchildren. I will hug them on their birthdays and cheer wildly when they score touchdowns. I will tell them that they are special and smart and lavish them with praise and love...as though they were my own grandchildren. Then on special holidays or long weekends I'll board the train to Portland, where I'll be met with an abundance of hugs and laughter and joy...and once again see that God has kept his promise to me.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over

We been taking advantage of the beautiful weather during Heather's visit home with the grandkids. Here we are at Boulevard Park.
Beginning at left: Jordynn, Isabella, me, Sofia, and Junior.

Beautiful Grandchildren!

Beautiful daughter, Heather, with Junior and Isabella

Jordynn is my oldest grandchild. She's becoming a lovely young woman.

Sofie, the youngest of all of my grandchildren. She's growing up so fast!

These days and hours are precious to me.
 My cup runneth over!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chillin' At The Pool

My daughter Heather is up this week from Portland with the kids. Yesterday we went to (my sister)Auntie Linda's house at Sudden Valley to swim in community pool with the cousins. (Nate and Alexandra...who are Auntie Linda's grandchildren.) They had a terrific time!

Cousin Nate and grandson, Junior

Cousin Alexandra

Sofie, my youngest grand-child

grand-daughter Isabella

Oldest grand-daughter, Jordynn


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Colorful Sights from the Fairway

Northwest Washington Fair

Funnel Cakes and Iced Tea...yummy!

The Fairway at Dusk

Saurkraut and Sizzling Grilled Sausages...Mmmmm!

Who Can't Use AnotherFurry Pink Flamingo?

Uncle Stinkey's Magic and Noveltys...A Crowd Pleaser!

Andean Musicians

Andean Musical Instruments

A Place to Eat Like a Piggly!

The Octopus at Night

Note: I've been overwhelmed with questions about the shooting at the NW Washington Fair. Yes, this terrible event did happen. It is such a tragedy not only for our town, but more for our world; that this could happen in small-town America. Here's all I know: A 15-year-old boy; probably a gang member or wannabe gang member; was involved in a fight. He shot 3 people and stabbed another. Two of the shooting victims are still in hospital...good condition--the other was released. I think the stab victim is OK too. The incident thankfully occurred after most of the exhibits had closed; but the carnival was still open. It took place near a free grandstand area right by some food stands. Had it been earlier in the day; things could have been much worse. The boy fled into the carnival and was apprehended by police. That's all I know for now. I normally do not report anything that is not 'lovely' on my blog--but I don't want my readers to think that I live in a bubble of denial. This is just terrible. That notwithstanding; I refuse to allow this young man's anger and hatred to poison my life. I will be praying for him, his family, his victims, and for my little town...that somehow we all can be a part of the solution to such senseless violence. I have a few more posts coming about the sights and sounds of the Fair; and I intend to go forward with them...in acknowledgement of all those wonderful people who brought their beautiful animals, foods, crafts and entertainment venues for all to enjoy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Begin This Day

I can do nothing better today than to urge you to read this link. Thank you, Zen Habits, for the reminder to be mindful about this day.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Journey of 1000 miles...Week Three: I need to log off so I can log more miles

This week's mileage is down some. My reason excuses are the heat and my hips. Early in the week I was potting some plants and carried a super heavy bag of potting soil from the garage to the back yard. I knew I shouldn't lift it, but I'm stubborn, so I manhandled it out into the yard. Now my back and hips hurt. It's not excruciating; and I have walked some anyway, but it hasn't been painless. The other excuse is the heat. Haven't wanted to take Koda out on a hot sidewalk and burn her little doggy paw pads. On the other hand, if I'd get up earlier, we could easily walk in the mornings. But I've been sleeping in because I've been staying up very late blogging. So my blogging about walking is preventing me from walking! How ridiculous! Is anyone else out there as obsessed with blogging as I am? Do you spend hours taking/editing photos; reading other blogs; organizing your time/outings around blogging? I've gotta get a grip on this! Help me out here, friends. If you see that I posted something after 11:00 pm, give me the dickens!

Distance Walked-11 miles

Weight loss/gain-Down 3 lbs!!! Whoohoo!

  • Get to bed at a decent hour and get up earlier to walk. I'm gonna have to do this anyway when school starts, might as well start now. 
  • Stop lifting things I have no business trying to lift...it never ends well.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Alice's Handiwork

My neighbor Alice is amazing! Look at her beautiful handiwork!
She's a little camera shy...didn't want me to take a photo of her; so you'll have to guess what she's like by looking at her quilts and needlework.
I had the nicest afternoon looking at all of her quilting. This is just the tip of the iceberg. She says she's given away most of her best quilts.

Here's one of my favorites...such rich colors!  You'll find a clue about one of her interests in that purple star.

There's another clue about her in this quilt. Hint...she's not Dutch!
Some of her favorite types of fabric are used in the cheery wall hanging above. Can you guess what kind they are?

 When I saw this quilt, I commented that my sister is just crazy about the Dresden pattern. (The daisy-like block.)  She did the nicest thing...she gave me some Dresden quilt blocks that she had made; said to give them to my sister! That should tell you something about Alice! 

This quilt really appeals to the country-girl in me. It is soooo...folksy!

Here are some more blocks from the Dutch quilt.

Here's what you may have figured out about Alice from looking at her quilts...
  • She and her husband were avid boaters. Before moving to this area, she lived in a beautiful home overlooking the ocean. They spent many happy hours fishing, clamming, and crabbing.

  • When she moved into our little Dutch town she decided to make a quilt with a Dutch theme. She couldn't find any suitable patterns, so she actually designed the quilt herself. She is  resourceful, creative lady.

  • She loves Batik fabric, and uses it masterfully in many of her quilts.

  • Alice is as vibrant and colorful as her quilts.

  • When I asked if she'd entered any quilts in the Fair, she replied, "No, I'm not good enough." Geez! If these quilts aren't good, my little nine-patch quilts would be rags! How modest! If I'd made these beauties, I'd be showing them to everybody I know.

  • Alice is a wonderful neighbor; not just because she's a great quilter...she's a great lady! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blue Ribbon Quilt at the County Fair

I can spend hours looking at the quilt exhibit at the Fair. This year was no exception. I took photos of almost every quilt there! The handiwork was amazing! This quilt was one of the grand prize winners. This quilt should be in the Smithsonian...really. Just look at the details! She's combined crazy quilting, embroidery, applique, ribbon work,beadwork, and heaven knows what else in this piece. I'm not sure, but it appears to have been hand quilted.

What a masterpiece...it must be a lifetime achievement for this gal! I could look at it for hours!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Village Green on a Sunday Afternoon

Sunday we took a drive to Fairhaven. I needed some good walking shoes and according to anyone who knows anything about running/walking and shoes; Fairhaven Runners is the place to go. Right now, I'm saying no more about the shoes...that's for another post. Going to Fairhaven is always a treat, and this day was no exception! A band was playing 40's swing music on the Village Green. They were the cat's meow!

Even Dirty Dan Harris seemed to be enjoying the music! Dirty Dan, as locals affectionately call him, was the founder of Fairhaven. In 1883 he filed the first platt in the area. Harris was an adventurer/enterpreneur who was often involved in scandals...sometimes spending time in the pokey for his antics. Most of them involved liquor. Here's a great link that tells about Dan Harris in more detail:

Fajitas! We could smell the sizzling steak and peppers as we strolled through the courtyard. Though we hadn't intended to dine out, we were overcome by the music, sunshine and the aroma of Mexican food. Not to mention that Milagro's had a balcony overlooking the green where we could listen to the music!

A couple of views from the balcony...

 Note the 'Village Books' and 'Colophon Cafe' sign. If you are an out-of-towner, these places are a must see. Though we enjoyed our fajitas, I think the Colophon is the best restaurant around. Especially if you like soup. And you know I do!

A couple dancing in the Green. I just know that years from now these couples will look back fondly at the day they danced in sunshine on Village Green.

Another couple cuts the rug. They say that the phrase ' to cut the rug' came about because some folks danced so often and so well that they wore out the rug. I would love to be able to dance well. Hubby and I took a few lessons...it was pretty hysterical! I didn't think he was doing it right and he didn't think I was doing it right! I think we were pretty frustrating to our instructor. Still, learning to dance is on the list of things to do in retirement...because if I have the chance to sit it out or dance...I'd like to dance!



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