Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Quiet Weekend


Hello, Dear Friends, I hope you are all 
hanging in there as we start to ascend
 from the depths of winter
here in the North, and the heat of summer
for all of my friends south of the equator. 

I want to thank you for all of your kind and 
encouraging comments on my last post.
It truly warms my heart to have such sweet 
well-wishers and lovely friends. 

I've been winding down after the flurry of activities
during the holidays and the baby shower, 
and have been trying to get
my little cottage in the woods back in order.


I finally put away all of my holiday decorations, but
  I left these tiny twinkle lights behind the curtain,
  just because I liked them :)

They are so pretty at night. 

Speaking of night.......have any of you been 
able to see the Big and Little Dippers? 

They appear right over Mt. Rainier on clear nights 
now, and it is so magical and wonderful 
to see them, especially this time of year 
when the nights are long and all the twinkly 
holiday lights are put away. 

Well, most of them, anyway :)



I found some white primroses at the 
market and planted them beneath my 
'caged' angel. 


We have had a mild weekend with temperatures 
in the 50's and 60's, so I couldn't resist 
going outside to get my hands dirty. 

I can see them from the glass door in the kitchen
and they just make me so happy. 



This time of year we always have cloud drama around 
the mountain. It changes from moment to moment. 


We have two new 'neighbors' - a pair of bald eagles 
that I have seen the last few days, flying through this view. 
(I've failed to get a decent photo of them, yet)

I am hoping that they stay and nest somewhere close, 
but they may just be temporary visitors. 


Although there is not much happening in the gardens
this time of year, I did find a few wonders......
Barberry


Beautyberry


Hydrangea



Winterberry and tiny mosses. 


Kai on mossy steps 


Water droplets on bare branches


Male Anna's Hummingbird 


The lacy patterns of winter trees


Misty mornings


Winter sunsets

Contemplating the beauty of nature, even in winter, 
helps to keep me grounded in this world of turmoil 
and strife. 

xoxo

"A calm and modest life brings more happiness
than the pursuit of success combined with 
constant restlessness."

- Albert Einstein -

Today I am linking with:

Keep in Touch
&
Floral Bliss

Won't you join the fun?

xoxo

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Baby Shower for Twins and a Happy Announcement


Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you 
have been settling in to the New Year. 

I have been thinking of all of you who have
been enduring the bitter winter weather
and hope you are staying safe and warm. 


For some reason, we have been spared the worst of it, 
despite our Northern latitude, here in Washington State. 


It's been cool, foggy, wet, and calm - 
typically 'average' Northwest winter weather. 
Of course, winter has just begun and I'm 
sure we will not be spared for long! 


Since Christmas, I've been busy crafting for a baby shower
for my daughter, Heather. 




Little owls for the little ones. 


Letters to spell out their names.....
Declan and Liam. 

The nursery is gray and white with a 'woodland' theme. 





Painted hat boxes and initials, lined with pretty papers
to stack and fill with little gifts. 


The shower was hosted by Heather's sister, 
Jennie, at her home across 
the Narrow's Bridge. It is an hour's drive away, 
so I left early in the morning, 
packed to the brim with dishes, gifts
and a cake still to frost and decorate.

I had never driven there myself, 
although I have been a passenger. 
There is a section of highway under construction
with limited signage and I missed my exit to the bridge, 
which took me miles out of my way
 before I could turn around. 
I hate driving on highways! 

Living in the country, I am used to slow country roads. 
This particular section of highway is the worst in the state, 
not to mention, under construction with lanes that end, 
lanes not marked, ramps, bumps and barriers. 
This state has been voted 5th in the nation
for the most congested highways. 
It's no lie. 
I nearly had a panic attack. 

But I made it safe and sound, although a bit frazzled. 


Jennie, daughter in law's, Erica and Jenn,
 and I got right to work and here are the results. 


Yum-yums

Fruit tray, meat and cheese tray, pastries, skewered donut holes, 
tiny muffins on pedestal, and assorted sliced tea breads. 




Mimosa bar
 (champagne was added to the silver buckets
 once the guests arrived)



The 'cakes' and little owls. 


Jennie found the sweet 'It's twins' decoration 
on-line and I baked the 'deconstructed' cake
and put it together there. 

It's simply a white cake with powdered sugar glaze.


The finished hat-box 'cake' with babies' initials. 
I found the bitty owls in a baby shop. They are finger puppets. 

The ribbon is printed with baby feet and 'baby boy'. 


Favor boxes filled with butter mints. 


Flowers with baby's breath, of course! 


Tiny 'onesies'. 
(There are duplicates of each one)


Sweet thoughts. 


The Mom-to be's comfy chair, decorated with pom-poms. 


Jenn and Erica were in charge of the games and prizes. 


xoxo

The house soon filled up
 with the love and laughter of close friends and family.......





with sweet generosity for the new mom-to-be.

xoxo 

Just a few more weeks before we greet the new arrivals. 

I'm excited, nervous, and filled with so many emotions. 
Heather and Eric already have l year old Gavin, 
so they will have a 'full house'. 
A dream come true for my daughter, who 
was ready to give up that dream of becoming a Mother, 
and now look at her! 
We are so happy for them! 

xoxo

Speaking of being happy.....I have some more happy news....



Jennie is engaged! Steve popped the question on New Year's Eve. 

It's beginning to look like a wonderful year! 

xoxo

Now let's hope that I can keep up with this growing family! 

xoxo

I think I need a nap now :)


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Memories and Happy New Year!


Hello, Dear Friends, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! 

We had a white Christmas, as you can see, 
which came as a surprise when it started 
snowing on Christmas Eve. 


We were invited to my youngest son, Dustin and wife Jen's
home for Christmas Eve, where they hosted 
a lovely gathering of extended families. 

On the hour and a half drive over, we passed this view
of Mt. Rainier half hidden by 
 the impending snow clouds. 


You can see that the Cascade mountain range is 
covered with snow. 

Mt. Rainier is over 14,000 feet tall, which gives you 
a perspective on how high these mountains are. 


We were one of the first to arrive, so I took
a few photos before the rooms filled with guests. 

When Dustin and Jen were cutting their tree 
at a nearby tree farm, they were filmed by 
a local company, which aired it's 
commercial during the Seahawk's game! 

They are die-hard fans and get season tickets every year. 
In fact, we were invited over for a Christmas Eve game viewing! 
Of course, the Seahawk's won! Go Hawks! 

My daughter in law made the amazing throw
with giant stitches, on the sofa :)


My son, all decked out in his Seahawk's 
Christmas sweater :)



His Seahawk's Christmas corner up in the 'Man-Cave'
where the guy's watch the game. 


Our littlest Seahawk's fan with 'The Grinch'
wearing Papa's glasses :)
(photo taken a couple weeks before when we were babysitting)


The 3rd stocking is for their cat, Lucky. 


 He's almost human.....
He doesn't like being treated like a cat -
don't pick him up, and don't talk to him 
in a fake, high pitched voice. 
He will let you know what he thinks of that! 
Not much!
xoxo



Jen was in charge of the rest of the pretty decorating.....

Dustin made the card display frame with chicken wire. 

These two have completely transformed their 'fixer-upper'
in the 3 years that they have been married. 


You can see me in the mirror taking the photo. 
I love the amazing chandelier. 




The hot chocolate bar. 
You can see a miniature gondola on the window sill. 
They are avid snow-boarders and Dustin proposed to Jen
at Canada's Whistler ski resort. 



So many delicious goodies. 


I made this cranberry-pear salsa served over cream cheese. 
Despite looking a bit like road-kill, it really was delicious :)

Here's the recipe:

Cranberry-Pear Salsa

1 and 1/2 cups (12 oz) whole cranberry sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
3 tbsp chopped green onion
1 firm pear or apple, cored, peeled and finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
(I used 1 tbsp canned, minced jalapeno)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice from 1 lime
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp packed brown sugar or 1/4 cup white sugar
pinch of salt 

Mix all together and serve over cream cheese
 with crackers or crostini 


It was so wonderful spending the day with family, 
but by nightfall it was snowing hard, so we took the long 
drive home fairly early. 


We arrived in our little town to nearly deserted streets. 


We woke to a winter wonderland on Christmas morning. 


We had about 5 inches. 
Just enough to make things pretty. 



Snow angel. 



I set the table for Christmas dinner
 - Ham, scalloped potatoes, pear and cranberry salad -
for my daughter, Heather, (who is expecting twins soon and couldn't attend 
the Christmas Eve celebration so far from home) 
and her little family (husband, Eric and our 1 yr old grandson). 

My younger daughter, Jennie and her family (Steve and the 2 girls)
 decided to come at the last minute, too, so I had 10 at the table. 

I found these Johnson Bros. plates last year - they reminded 
me of my dear Mother-in-law who has been gone a year now. 
She had the whole set, and I have 4 of her original plates
that are very similar. 


Here she is with her son, my sweet Ramblin' Man, 
one long ago Christmas day. 

The years fly swiftly by but sweet memories remain. 


And now.....
Our little Christmas elf playing with Papa :) 


The sweaters I crocheted for my little grandsons. 


It was a wonderful, magical Christmas. 

xoxo

Some years are better than others - some years 
you want to forget. 
This year I made a blessings jar to record all of the good things, 
and I am happy to say that it is nearly full. 
I will open it on New Year's Eve and then start a new one. 

I don't know if I have more than the average blessings this year, 
or if I have simply decided to notice them more. 
I think it may be the latter. 

As I have grown older (and hopefully wiser), 
I've made a conscious decision to focus on all that is 
good in this life. 
It takes a certain discipline.......
it's easy to focus on the negatives, but some days
it's not so easy to force myself to find the good. 
It's easy to feel sorry for myself, to find fault, to blame......
It's much harder to take full responsibility for 
the happiness in my own life. 

I've found that it's all in making the choice - to keep things in perspective, 
to always take the high road, to have faith that all is
as it should be. Every single thing is a reflection
and opportunity of what I need to learn. 

I am still a work in progress, so as this new year 
approaches, I've made a list of things to improve upon..... 
 xoxo

My sense of humor when things don't go right.

Taking a moment (or an hour, or a day) before and if, speaking my mind. 

Setting an example of how I would like to be treated, 
by being kind to others, even when they are less than kind to me. 

Having more patience. 

Getting more sleep and eating healthier so I will feel my best. 

Getting outside more for fresh air and exercise. 

Doing more of what I love to do and putting that on my daily list. 

Looking for opportunities to bring a smile to others - 
we all know this world has enough hate and negativity. 

Make a vow to promote what I love instead of bashing what I hate. 
Nobody wants to listen to complaints. 

xoxo

So as we say goodbye to 2017 and usher in the New Year, 
I wish you all the very best that life can give you. 

And because I am part Irish, 
I will leave you with an Irish Blessing for the New Year :

Always remember to forget
The Troubles that pass away.
But never forget to remember
The Blessings that come each day. 

 xoxo


Happy New Year, my Dear Friends and Family! 
xoxo

Today I am linking with:

Thankful Thursday

Won't you join in?

xoxo
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