Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Two Vases Full

Monday we held our annual Birthday Bash where we celebrate all the birthdays for all our kids and their spouses all at once. The main reason I started this tradition was the increasing difficulty in gathering our tribe all in one place to celebrate birthdays. And since five out of seven children have spring birthdays, I decided to just find one day in the spring that would be open for everyone, have them over for a meal, and dispense a nice envelope of cash to each of my offspring. In the spring we generally have nice weather and can eat out in the back garden where there's much more room than inside.

DH took advantage of Kyle being home to help him install the shade sails over the patio, then put a piece of plywood between the two tables to increase the seating capacity at the table. I love cheap solutions! With a garden full of roses, I filled two vases with blooms and put the lantern in the center. How I love spending time out on the patio with my kids, or anyone really!

For lunch I had smoked a big brisket and pork shoulder for pulled pork, bought a veggie tray and a birthday cake, and the older kids filled in with my mom's famous macaroni salad, cole slaw, and chips. Plus I raided my wine cellar for something nice to go with the food. We had a wonderful afternoon, the grandkids played and not once did I hear, "Can I watch a movie?" They had fun playing outside or inside with the Legos/games.

And I have lots of leftovers to make dinner easy for a few nights!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Times are Changin'

For 33 years I've been a stay-at-home mom, giving up the working world the moment they placed that first sweet baby girl in my arms after her birth. My dear husband worked hard and we were frugal for many years so that I could be home. It hasn't always been easy, but God has blessed, and what a great group of adults we've put out into the world!

Now all seven of the kids are adults and there are new opportunities to explore.

Last summer I was approached with the opportunity to volunteer with a group that helps our local refugee population learn English. I was hesitant. Sure, I homeschooled for over 25 years, but those people spoke English. How do you teach English to people who speak Arabic, Karen, Chin, Burmese, and other languages? So I said I'd like to observe for awhile before making a decision.

The first month, I went down to the apartment that World Relief rents in the heart of the area of Kennewick where the refugees live and observed all the levels of English classes they teach in the morning. These people soon captured my heart, and by the second month I had taken a couple of classes for myself. I chose Level C as the students can already read, and communicating with them is a little easier.

Tuesday was the last class for the school year. The experience working with the refugees was so good and I learned quite a bit about different cultures and the process it takes to immigrate to the U.S. I'm looking forward to continuing to teach a couple of mornings this fall.

Besides volunteer teaching, a position has opened up in our family insurance business and as of this month, I'm going in to work every day, mostly doing some bookkeeping and payroll. Some days I leave the office with my head about to explode from trying to understand all the new information I'm trying to take in. I'm sure it'll get better and the whole process will be second nature, I sure hope it's soon!!

Not being home much during the day takes some getting used to for this homebody! The garden isn't getting as much attention, the deadheading is going to be a constant evening activity for me. But I can't think of a better stress reliever than deadheading and weeding!

This weekend we're heading up to Spokane as daughter Kirsten qualified for Regionals in discus. And on Monday all the kids are coming over for our annual Birthday Bash where we celebrate the birthdays all at once.

I hope all my U.S. friends have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and all the rest of you a great weekend!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015


We've had some gorgeous days lately and the roses that get the most sun are really starting to pop!

Lunar Mist

Lower: The Impressionist, Upper: Sky's the Limit

Peach Silk

Oh yes, the iris too!

With the good weather I've been emptying out the pots and getting them replanted. I'm especially glad to get my deck boxes replanted and happy once again!

I've begun my morning garden walks, coffee in hand, seeing what's new and just enjoying the play of color and serenity.

If you've any interest, my husband and I have started a new blog featuring the wineries near our home. Gary loves photography, we both enjoy wine and exploring the back roads, so we thought this would be a fun thing to do as our nest is practically empty. You can find it at:

Winery A Week

I hope you are enjoying the simple pleasures in life today!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Calling It Good

Yep, I'm calling Convent Garden by The Drawn Thread good, in other words quitting. Not because there's anything wrong with the design by the designer; the problem is entirely with me. And that is the reason I set aside this lovely design several years ago.

When I resumed stitching on it a few months ago, I had forgotten that reason, and I didn't really look at what I'd stitched. I just saw it, and resumed the stitching. And after finishing the center garden of the design, I unrolled more of the linen on the scroll rods, and it hit me.

I had not properly centered the design on the linen! Argh!

So this is as far as it goes.

And that's ok with me!

Monday, April 20, 2015


After some amazingly lovely spring weather, my garden is just about to burst into color. I am so ready!

It'll be 80F today! I have more fertilizing to do, then laying down some mulch. I can feel the vitamin D surging as I soak in the sun!