Girls Happy Hour

My girlfriend Dana is a rock star party, camping, event planner.  Four years ago, she started a tradition of spending a week camping at Cama Beach State Park.  My family was one of the first lucky families to go and since then, the trip has grown by numbers of families and number of nights.  Since we have some new people coming this year, Dana decided to throw a ladies happy hour Sunday evening.  Unfortunately, my hubby was out of town with the junior high (still) so Dana's husband offered to watch my kids for me.  THANKS MIKE!!!

My contribution to the evening was a white sangria. Dana made up the menu of drinks and some of us brought some munchies. It was a great evening with the ladies to chat and ask questions about the upcoming trip. Just a little preview of evenings to come once the children pass out from exhaustion from playing all day long and the parents are outside visiting.

White Sangria
courtesy Bon Appetit 
 2 thinly sliced, pitted plums
1 orange, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 cup halved green grapes
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup Cointreau
1 750-ml bottle of crisp white wine

Combine fruits and Cointreau in a large pitcher. Mash fruits gently with the back of a wooden spoon to release their juices. Add bottle of wine and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours (the longer it sits the fruiter it will be). Divide among ice filled wineglasses. Serves 4-6


Hidden meaning

Ever have those days where you wonder what God is up to in your life?  I've had a few of those days lately.  This summer I'm part of the women's bible study my Sunday School/Adult Bible Fellowship puts on to minister to those who want to be part of a bible study since the church at large takes a hiatus during June through August.  The gal who is in charge so to say of the study asked me if I would be willing to lead the study for a couple of weeks.  Sure, I look at it as a chance to dig deeper into the Word and be able to share that knowledge with the ladies in the study.

Only that didn't happen. My kids got sick with fevers the first week I was suppose to teach and the second week, the power went out and the church had no idea how long it would last.  Okay......  First off, my husband was leaving for junior high camp that morning and I was going to give him a ride because we were going to the same place after all and then to find out I'm not teaching just sent me into a funk.
This photo is a picture of a painting at a girlfriends house and even though I don't know the story behind the painting, it just spoke to me the next day. I was still in a funk, my husband was gone and I was parenting 3 boys all by myself and not doing a very good job at all.  I needed God to restore me but I was having a hard time trying to get into the Word.  I'm thankful for His forgiveness and grace in my life and hopefully, someday I will look back at this time and see God's purpose.


Orcas Island and a Ferry Boat

After coming home exhausted from a weekend of camping in the sunshine, we headed the opposite direction the next weekend and caught a ferry boat up to the San Juan Islands to camp out with some friends.  I am very blessed to live in a gorgeous part of the country that is so close to water and the mountains.  If God were to ever move us from here, I would hope for another part of the country near water at least.
Our little road trip took us north and a bit west to Anacortes for the ferry boat to Orcas Island. There are only a few boats each day, so we got up, Mike loaded the car and we were off by 9 am to catch the 12:30 boat.  Now it's only about an hour and a half drive up to Anacortes, but you need to be in line early, especially on a Friday.  We made it to the ferry line and were able to get out, stretch our legs a bit, use the restroom and hang out.
The ferry ride over was so beautiful and a bit chilly as the temperatures have been a little in the lacking warmth department. I'm a bit directionally challenged so I could not have told you what direction we were headed or what islands we were going by, but I was just enjoying the boat ride. Once we made it to Orcas Island, we drove around the island to get to the state park. Orcas is shaped like a horseshoe and we came in on the southeast tip and the state park is on the southwest tip. In the middle of the island is the town of Eastsound which is also the name of the water inlet. Our friends were already at the campsite, so we drove on in, unloaded and the kids were so excited to be with their friends.
The weekend was filled with a few walks, swimming in Cascade Lake, a little kayaking for the moms and dads, some bike riding as there wasn't a great place to ride bikes with the kids and even a thunderstorm to finish out an evening.  We of course did the camp fire with s'mores all 3 nights even though the first and third night the rain decided to join us.  Not a fan of camping in the rain which you just have to be prepared for if you go camping in Western Washington.  Although July and August are usually good bets for no rain, but there is no guarantee.
Another great part of Orcas Island is Mount Constitiution. From up at the summit, you can see Vancouver, BC, Bellingham, WA and other San Juan Islands on a clear day. Our day had a few clouds, but overall, it was beautiful. There is a watch tower the state parks department has turned into a little informational exhibit about the San Juan Islands and how they were used in the past. Now, the island is home to artists, farmers and retirees I'm sure.
Our friends had to leave on Sunday morning, so we bid them goodbye and headed into Eastsound to get online and do a little bit of normal weekend business and to sight see. The town has many cute little shops, galleries, a bookstore, several restaurants, a small inn and coffee shops. As much as I would have liked to go in some of the shops, we have to get real about the fact that I travel with four males at all times and one of those males doesn't look with his eyes very well and must touch everything, so I walk by, glance in and keep walking. We did stop into the pie shop for a snack. I must say that with a child who has dairy allergies, going into a pie shop is not the best idea, but I know that if I can find a pie where the filling is dairy free, I just give him the filling and we forgo the crust. This pie shop was good, but the pie shop on Phinney in Seattle right across from the zoo is much better.
After our pie stop, the sun finally came out and we decided to head back to the camp. The boys fell asleep so we drove around to the south end of Cascade Lake to the south camp sites where we stayed the previous time. We wanted to scope out next years camping spots and get an idea of which sites we wanted to make reservations for summer 2013. Once back, it was different without our friends there and the camp site seemed a bit bigger and more spread out and it was kinda lonely.
I'm thankful for the time we were about to have with our friends and I'm thankful for the time just our family had together. It was awesome being out in God's creation even if it did rain on my parade. And as a mom of all boys and no privacy at home, it was nice to go to the bathroom by myself for 3 straight days.


Boating or Unpacking

How does one spend their evening after traveling back from Orcas Island all day?



Boating with friends of course!

Our friends whom we spent camping with had come back a day earlier than we due to work.  After we had been home for a couple of hours, they called to see if we were home and wanted to go grab a burger via the boat.  I mean really, dinner out and a ride on the boat on lovely Lake Washington?  Yes, please!

As we were headed back into the bay where the marina is, I snapped the above photo with my iPhone and used no filters.  That scene was created by God Almighty Himself.  What a Creator we serve!


Sun Lakes and a dam

This past weekend was spent together as a family camping in the heat and sunshine of Eastern Washington.  It is pretty mandatory that if you want to go camping in the summer and have a specific state park you would like to stay at, reservations must be made a few months in advance.  Unfortunately, I wasn't on the ball like I should have been, so by the time I got to getting online to reserve a spot, most of the state parks we like to visit were booked.


But (silver lining here) I did find a pretty decent campsite at Sun Lakes State Park where the temperatures can reach triple digits in the summer due to the desert like topography.  I didn't take too many pictures since it's kinda hard to be out in the sand, dirt, water with a nice DSLR since my point and shoot is still in need of repair.  We had no cell service and certainly no 3G service so our little family was unplugged for the weekend. 

After setting up our tent and giving the boys boundaries of where they could play, we spent some time hanging out as a family.  Luckily, there was a rather large section of grass behind our site that backed up to the golf course, so we let the dog off his lead and tossed the ball around to him so he could get some exercise.  Dinner was hot dogs and s'mores over the fire since my chicken hadn't thawed yet.  I also learned how many items I had forgotten, but how you can improvise with what was in the camping box.

Saturday was spent having a yummy breakfast, a walk around the park with the dog and then Mike took the older two boys plus the dog to the water to play.  I stayed back to try to get the little man to take a nap.  Futile effort, but I did get to read some of my book.  After the boys returned from the water, we had lunch, naps and then went back out to the water all together.

That evening was a chicken salad and more s'mores over the camp fire.  Camping and sleep is always such an anomaly and my boys were no different the first night than the second, but we survived and had a fun time together as a family.

After packing up our site and hitting the road, Mike and I took a little road trip to see the Grand Coulee Dam.  It is quite the sight.  There are three sections of the dam that generate power and the amount of concrete that was needed to build the dam was phenomenal, 12 million cubic yards.  Crazy, huge!  We did drive up to the visitors center and would have liked to have taken the tour, but the temperature was over 90 degrees and there was no where for Oreo to hang out, so we just turned around and headed for home.

We took a detour into Wentachee for Sonic Drive-Thru and honestly, the only thing going for them is their drinks.  Lunch was heh, but we ate it, and drove on to home.  Road trips are always an adventure and we saw a truck pulling a travel trailer on the side of the road on fire.  Luckily it wasn't engulfed in flames, but I felt so bad for those people who owned the truck.  Due to the location of the truck, it was 20 minutes down the highway before we saw a fire truck and on the other side of Stevens Pass.  I did send up a few prayers for that family.  What a way to end your weekend.  We got about 20 miles from our turn off on Highway 2 and traffic was dead stopped.  Apparently, we managed to come across at just the right time to get stuck in lovely 2 lane traffic. It took an hour to go 8 miles and there are no alternative roads until you get a few more miles down the road.  Yay for google maps on the ipad, because that was my saving grace.  I was driving and Mike was looking for alternative roads and we discovered on in the next town over that would take us directly to highway 203 and onto home.

It was a fun, crazy, hot weekend.  No one got sunburned, PRAISE THE LORD!  And we all still love each other :)


Happy Independence Day

Today was a fun family day just relaxing at home for a good part of the day. It was a bit random how the 4th landed on a Wednesday and of course will again, but odd to have a day off in the middle of the week. After naps, we walked the mile to grandpa and grandma's house because from there we walked up the hill to the city's festivities.

The city of Sammamish does a good job hosting a party. There were food trucks, a section of various inflatable bounce toys and lots of green grass to lay out a blanket and wait for the sun to go down. Fireworks don't start until 10 pm but it was a fun 20 minute show. Overall, it was a fun day with a lot of walking and the bonus was I made it home in time to remember to put out the cold pack for the Full Circle Farm driver to pick up when delivering my weekly box of produce.

I hope you had a great time celebrating our independence and may this nation remember what our founding fathers did to start forming this great nation. God Bless!
A little picture of my holiday bling.
Silver bracelet - gift
Blue Bangle - Beadin Path
Beaded Bracelet - tulipsandpine


long awaited gift

Twitter has probably gotten me into more trouble than my husband would like. I have found new online bead stores, gotten a thimble (that is another story for another day) met some really awesome people and discovered some really cool brands. One of those brands is a gal who designs camera bags that do not scream, I'm a camera bag, come steal me!!

Kelly Moore Bags are gorgeous bags that look like purses or messenger bags where no one would guess there could be a nice, expensive camera in there. The bags are padded with removable sections, so you can decide how you want the inside of the bag to be or even hold.

When my sweet husband bought me a camera, he also picked out the bag to carry. Now, that bag is great, but everyone knows it's a camera bag and it's one more bag for me to carry. I wanted a bag I could safely carry my camera along with my personal belongings since I still have to also carry around a diaper bag/backpack for the 2 and 4yo.

After pinning for a new purse, making a little money helping out a friend and finagling the budget a bit, my husband let me pick out the Kelly Moore bag I wanted for a birthday/Mother's Day/anniversary/I didn't die during surgery gift.  Even better was the fact that there happens to be one camera store in the entire Seattle area that carries the KM bags and happens to be in downtown Bellevue.  So after my awesome baking class, my husband picked me up and took me over there to pick out and see which bag I wanted.  Lucky for me, the purse I REALLY wanted was in stock in the store whereas it wasn't in stock on her website.  I also discovered the hobo bag is really cool too, but I'm good for awhile :)

So now, I have a pretty new purse that can carry all my stuff, the random toy that without fail ends up in my possession and my camera for when I want to take it along to capture my boys. Thank you Kelly Moore for making a beautiful, functional bag and thank you to my fabulous husband for spoiling me.  Love you!


baking 101

If you follow me on instagram or twitter you know my love/hate affair with pie crusts.  It doesn't matter if the crust is homemade or store bought, I screw it up.  Enter my sister-in-law.....

She found a new cooking school that Heavy Restaurants is doing in Bellevue, Washington in what used to be Barrio.  The restaurant group decided to convert that space for private dining, catering, parties and cooking classes.  If you live in the area, you must check out their workshops.  Anyhoo, my SIL wanted to sign up for the Baking 101 class and I said sure.  Now, I don't NEED baking 101 by any stretch of the imagination as I can whip out flaky biscuits and quick bread like the seasoned baker I am, but the real reason I went was the pie crust.  Yup, I need some help in that department.

The class was killer awesome!  For $50, I had the opportunity to learn from the head pastry chef how to make savory cheddar biscuits, lemon poppy seed quick bread and enough pie crust to keep me busy for quite a while.  I could ask questions galore, get my hands dirty mixing up butter and flour and they fed us yummy pub food from Lot No 3.  I also took home an apple pie in a pie tin that I get to keep and use again to make a deep dish pie or a cake.  Score! My boys were thrilled they were able to eat apple pie and the quick bread.

I have been keeping an eye out for other classes I want to take. My problem is I have vacations planned for most of the Saturdays of the classes that interest me. Overall, I thought the money spent was worth it. And I will be taking other classes in the future.