Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Day 2010

It was such a treat to have Jessi and Josh here this Christmas.  The house sure seems empty and quiet now that they have left to head back to Portland.  :(

The Love Birds, being shy

Josh wanted the Star Wars Cookbook II, who knew there was such a thing.  The fella at the bookstore sure got a kick out of it, he'd never heard of it either! 


Jessi made to-die-for apple/pecan french toast with apple/caramel sauce...oh yeah!

We "heart" you!  Two cards below are the two young kids they have each "adopted" thru World Vision as Christmas presents to each cool is that!

Christmas Dinner in Everett with the Whitakaer clan!'
L to R:  Kris, Jessi, Wayne

Wally and cousin Tom

Jessi and Waynee

Tom and wife, Pandora

Waynee opens presents

Neice Kaylee

L to R:  Newphew Ian, sis-in-law Terry, neice Lindsey, front is Kaylee

Our favorite kids, Jessi and Josh

Sis--in-law Kris and hubby Paul

Thursday, December 23, 2010

At Long Last....

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas on Vallette St. now that I'm home and can put some time and effort into it.  The Bearded One is off also, so he's been busy helping with lights and cookies.  All the inside decorations are finished and it looks so warm and cheerful, it's a delight to settle down at night with a cup of tea and Christmas music on the stero.  I use this month of December to read or re-read my Christmas favorites which includes devotionals, heart-warming stories and this year a wonderful family Advent companion that Jess' church puts out.

This is "our year" for Jessi and Josh and we met them at the Lights of Christmas at Warm Beach on their way up last night.  This is such a magical place, it instantly transports me back to childhood wonder!  Lots of photos follow, settle in with a cup of coffee and enjoy!

The Christmas Village made by Betty Whitaker.  She was a master at ceramics and taught classes for many years and our home is filled with the beautiful things she produced in love.
Betty's Church

The horse and sleigh taking the family from church back to their little log cabin, made by a delightful woman from Austria

Then it's time to work on cookies, another tradition of the Bearded One's family.  These are labor intensive and involve a day to bake them, a day to glaze them and then another day to frost them.  The results are impressive though, and the Bearded One is in his element as he studiously works on the details.  I help, but I'm not as patient as he is!

First there is the glazing

Glazing in process

Then comes the frosting

Jessi gave me a sheep cookie cutter last Christmas, how cute are these!

Mt. Baker in lights at Warm Beach

This scene was one of my favorites, the sun "sets" in the sky and then the lights of the village in the foreground come on !

The Twin Sisters and Mt. Baker from another vantage point

And of course, many photo ops of the happy couple!

This was another one of my favorites, all of the flowers are made with lights and each one is identified with a plaque!

A third favorite, the Polar Express winds its way through this village.

And the best for last....the very reason for the season!  May He find His way into your heart this year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Worth It All

I think I've whined enough about my job over the past few years.  Yes, it's not what it used to be; yes, it's a difficult staff; yes, it's tedious at times....but, then there are those moments that stop me in my tracks and cause me to remember it's not about me!  This was one of them!  Timmy is one of our lifeskills students and a regular "customer".  I consider this my Christmas present this year!

Monday, December 13, 2010

How To Avoid Doing the Laundry

I've been tagged again and I haven't done one of these in a long, long time.  What better way to waste an afternoon!  Feel free to copy and paste and send it back to me!

1. What time did you get up this morning?  Awake at 4 am, up at 4:30 am

2. How do you like your steak? Medium rare.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?  "Avatar"

4. What is your favorite TV show? Probably Bones....or Parenthood

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?  The Cotswalds

6. What did you have for breakfast? Coffee, pumpernickle bagel with chevre, hard-boiled egg

7. What is your favorite cuisine? Mediterranean.

8. What foods do you dislike? Hm. There's not much I don't like. Bugs. I'd have a problem with bugs.

9. Favorite Place to Eat?  Depends on the season, my mood and time of da
10. Favorite dressing? My own homemade balsamic vinagrett
11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? Toyota Corolla

12. What are your favorite clothes? Comfortable

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Anywhere and everywhere

14. Is your cup 1/2-empty or 1/2-full? 1/2-full in reality, 1/2 empty if I could change my personality!

15. Where would you want to retire? Near to my daughter and her soon-to-be hubby

16. Favorite time of day? Early morning
17. Where were you born?  Havre de Grace, MD
18. Favorite sport to watch? Golf, if I have to

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?  ??

20. Person you expect to tag you back first? Maybe Sherry

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?  ??

22. Bird watcher? Avid

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?  Morning

24. Pets? Not unless you count the neighbor's dog, Palmer, that I get to "share"

25. Favorite book? There's not enough room here to list them all!
26. What did you want to be when you were little? A dog trainer
27. What is your best childhood memory?  Watching fireflies on last summer nights

28. Are you a cat or dog person?  Yes

29. Do you have children? Yes.

30. Do you always wear your seat belt? Yes.

31. Have you ever been in a car accident? Yes.

32. Any pet peeves? People who leave their grocery carts in parking spots instead of taking them back

33. Favorite pizza topping?  All of them
34. Favorite Flower? Peonies and sweet peas

35. Favorite ice cream? Any of them

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Five Guys

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?  0
38. From whom did you get your last email? Jessi

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? I don't do credit cards

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Sure

41. Do you like your job? Used to

42. Broccoli? Cauliflower? Both.
43. What was your favorite vacation? Thetis Island
44. Last person you went out to dinner with? My husband.

45. What are you listening to right now? Handel's "Messiah"
46. What is your favorite color?  The whole spectrum
47. How many tattoos do you have? None.

48. Coffee drinker? Yes!

49. Favorite pastime? Knitting/gardening/sewing/reading

50. Favorite quote? The real voyage of discovery exists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Reason for the Season

For years and years our family has made Lynden Choral Society's presentation of Handel's "Messiah" a part of our Christmas traditions.  This piece of music never fails to move me to tears with its combination of scripture and musical brilliance.  And I love the story behind its composition.  Ben Witherington says this on his blog: "The story of the composition of this most famous of all Christian musical works has been told variously.  What we can say with certainty is that he composed the work in a short period of time during the summer of 1741, and when he got to the Hallelujah chorus, his assistant found him in tears saying, 'I did thing I saw heaven open, and saw the very face of God'.  Handel certainly has managed to move our spirits!

Wally was out of town and I didn't make it north for this year's presentation, but a friend sent me a link to this wonderful, impromptu presentation of the Hallelujah Chorus!

"For the Lord God omnipotent reignith!"

Merry Christmas

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

The weather this past week has been wild.  First the snow, then the Arctic Blastand fierce winds that have kept the temperatures in the 20's and teens.  I love snow....when I don't have to drive to work in it at 6:45 am. when there is no way to get to my work place without having to navigate several steep hills, some of which have traffic lights strategically placed in the middle of them...such fun.  But we survived, as did the 2 hummingbirds who are still frequenting my feeders.  I had to take the feeders in at night to keep them from freezing and then put them back out in the morning.  I can't imagine how they survived the frigid night and 50 mph winds that blew last Monday, but they did!  The weather was supposed to break by Thanksgiving Day.

The Plan for Thanksgiving Day:  drive south to Des Moines, WA, to have dinner with extended family.  I was to bring sweet potato souffle and cranberry salad. 

The Reality of Thanksgiving Day:  4" of new snow on top of ice as the "Arctic Blast" kept the temperatures in the 20's.  We decided that what would now become a 6 hr. drive down and back was not going to work and we chose to stay home instead.  But....we have nothing but the potatoes and the salad to eat.  What to do....what to do.  Well, Fred Meyer is always open on Thanksgiving, so we made a quick trip to the store and purchased a Tur-Duk-Hen!  Ready to cook!  And....a marionberry pie on sale for $1.99.  Can't beat that.  Along with the potatoes, the salad and a glass of Sparkling Apple Mango Cider, our meal was complete!

Monday, November 1, 2010


It's been five long weeks since I've had any time to myself.  Between work at school, Saturdays at Stoney Ridge and church, Sunday school and small group on Sundays, I've just been a blur as I have moved from one commitment to another.  Yesterday I had a blissful 3 whole hours to myself.  I lit all my collected lanterns, made a cup of Murchies No. 10 blend, finished reading Elizabeth Goudge's PILGRIM INN and started Jan Karon's newest book, the second in her "Father Tim" series. 

I first discovered Jan Karon at the public library when I randomly picked up AT HOME IN MITFORD from the shelf and read the blurb:  small town life, quirky characters and a dog...I was hooked.  This was long before her books started to make The New York Times Bestseller list.  I was completely captivated by the charm of her writing, so much so that I wrote her a 4 page letter.  This is only the second letter I've ever written to an author, the first was at the age of thirteen when I wrote to Albert Payson Terhune who wrote those treasured books about Lad and the other collies and dogs that were a part Sunnybank.  I read everything he ever wrote.  Sadly, dogs have never been an actual part of my life, but they have certainly inhabited my dreams and maybe someday.....dream will become reality!

In the meantime, three hours of bliss, what a treasure.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It was the busiest day ever at Stoney Ridge today.  We're guestimating about 8,000 people.  There were 900 hotdogs solds, 121 pies eaten and untold numbers of pumpkins, squash and apples that were carted out to cars.  We had a non-stop line at the gate from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm when it finally slowed down enough for us to drink some water and eat a hot dog!  It was a beautiful day and everyone was patient with the long lines and even though we're beyond tired, how can you lose when one of the resident bakers hands you a whole pan with a dozen homemade cinnamon rolls to take home.  We are blessed!

Friday, October 15, 2010

And Furthermore....

There are those who still consider books to be the treasures that they are, as so eloquently stated by Lanier in her most recent post!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Death of the Library...or Why My Job Isn't Fun Anymore

"The profession I chose...belongs to the past except in the minds of those who truly loved it and mourn its tragic demise. Even the educational path upon which it is based has become all but unrecognizable. What was once called library science now has a trend-driven hocus-pocus name, something like 'informational studies.' A library that is respectably up to date is no longer a temple dedicated to the guardianship of books or a sanctuary for the hallowed art of reading. No. A library is a zone of cyberkinetic values, a brain as viewed by the cold, lizardly pathologist: a numbingly gray place, of systems and wiring, of knowledge-related transactions that may or may not...require the use of books." from THE WIDOWER'S TALE by Julia Glass

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dinner's Ready....

Or later that same day.....the perpetrator returns to the scene of the crime!