Quilt of Many Colors

Hi there– Finished stitching up this quilt for our Laurel– She and John are getting married in August this is their wedding quilt.  She has always been our most “colorful” child–so when I handed over my Pinterest quilt idea board, I wasn’t surprised when she picked this bright quilt!

      

It was super fun to work on with all the variety color and shapes!! –with a soft green patterned flannel backing.  About 100 hours of stitching– plenty of time to sit in front of HGTV!!  And also some quiet time to sit and stitch and pray for Laurel and John and all they good years they have ahead…


So happy for you dear girl– You’ve made our lives fuller with all your colorful adventures, including your purple tinged hair!!

Here Comes the Bride

Hi everyone– Just one more little scrapbook post.  Family came in from far and wide this weekend for a little pre-wedding celebrating– a Bachelorette party by the beach and two warm & wonderful wedding showers.  So happy for you Laurel & John!

It was so sweet to be with family and old friends to shower Laurel with gifts and good wishes.

     

There were meals together, good times getting to know John’s family come in from Wisconsin and quieter times just hanging around the house…

   

And we threw in a trip to the beach one day, and a picnic at the park another (complete with cherry pit spitting contest).
     

     


It was a fine full weekend– a little crazy–with it’s ups and downs (ie-engagement ring lost at the beach and found by a guy named Stan with a metal detector!!)  But lots of time together– and there’s nothing I love more than that.  Happy Wedding to come John & Laurel!!  God Bless on all that lies ahead…

P.S.  Thanks Jodi for your pictures that I “borrowed.”

Birthday Girl’s Weekend –San Diego

Hi all–Our grand-girl Charlotte turned 10 years old!!  So to celebrate this special birthday we trekked down to San Diego for a zoo day, some late night swimming and a stroll through the Natural History Museum.

It was grand to spend the time with just Charlotte– We followed our “Fun Map” to see us through the trip.
     

First stop– The San Diego Zoo

     

Sunday morning I was in “breakfast heaven” at– Con Pane–Rustic Breads & Cafe–with a thick slab of raisin hazelnut bread & butter.
     

We ended out trip strolling through Balboa Park, and Charlotte’s pick– The Natural History Museum.

     

After a stop at the “Old Town” for a taco & enchilada lunch, we headed up the Interstate to return Charlotte to Ojai.
     
Thanks Char-Star for all the lively fun to add to our lives– And Happy Birthday 10 year old!!

San Francisco Family Days

 


Hello all– Just a few (or maybe more than a few!) photos of last week in San Francisco.  Maybe if you’re not into doting grandma posts, you might scroll on by this one!  But I’m wanting to remember days of giggling, kite flying, book reading and daily ice cream. So here goes…

Around the house with little Lois (her dear parents Ani & Bria), plenty of play time…

    

And she got us out and about too– Story time at Charlie’s Corner Book Shop, taking in the sun at Golden Gate Park,  tea time at Vive La Tart, and my favorite — visiting Mom at work…
     

     

     

Then we moved over for a few days with Mae & Eero and fine their parents.  Here’s Mae & Eero in their “jungle,” stories in the hallway, the best toy– a cardboard box! and more stories for morning wake up.

     

Out & About with these kids means parks, ice cream and some splashy rock throwing!
     

     

     
The best of the week were quiet talks at dinner with Ani & Brian, out for morning coffee to catch up with Jessica, Aaron making morning pancakes and reading with kids…   You all are the most amazing parents.  It’s a joy to spend time with you and those bright kids!!  thanks thanks.

 

On Being A Mom


A cloudy day in the Spanish countryside, about 30 years ago, with little Laurel.

Hi all — I read once, that when a child is born, so is a mother…  It all begins in a haze of long nights, and a steep learning curve that includes diapers, feedings and the most delicious tender snuggles.

Then one day you realize, they’ve turned from toddlers to small kids, with long legs and minds of their own.  And for the next few years, the joy is in watching them grow and learn and stretch into the people they will become.

And finally, one day you shuttle them off to college.  But you can’t help but still be a mom, with care packages and talks about new horizons.  And when they come home to visit, it’s the best to have them at arm’s length again.

The truth is, you never stop being a mom.  My mother is 85 and I still depend on her for a listening ear and her long life perspective.  I still need her near.


With Micah and Aaron on the beach, the year we live in Costa Rica

So for Mothers’ Day, I’m thinking through my “TEN BESTS OF BEING A MOM.”  Here they are:

#1.  Can I start with reading with kids??  In the dim light of bedtime, on road trips as we roll along, snuggled on the couch–sharing a story, talking it through…

#2. Of course, I love cooking together– decorating Christmas cookies or mixing up brownies with a little kitchen dancing thrown in.

#3. Vacations!  Hiking in Sequoia, studying our way through British museums, intrepid touristing from San Francisco to New York– the most vivid memories are of times away together.

#4. Quiet bedtime talks and prayers and songs– sweet times that fill a mother’s heart.

#5. Sitting around the table, talking through the day, insisting kids eat their peas!  (would skip the eating peas part if I were starting over).

#6. Sitting in church together, singing, praying, worshipping.

#7. Walking & talking–  through the park in Seville, along the beach in So Cal, across town to Yogurtland, along the trail at Land’s End– everyday conversations.

#8. And then –there’s a special joy in watching your children become parents to children of their own, with aplomb and grace.  I marvel at what tender, smart, generous, inventive parents they’ve turned out to be!

#9.  Plus grand-kids!!  So much happiness and wonder filling up days spent with those little people.

#10. I’ll end with grown kids coming in the door for a stay–the noise, the hugs, the breakfasts at the kitchen table.   That’s happening here in a couple weeks for some bridal showers and I can’t wait to see their pretty faces!

So that’s it.  Being a Mom– I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


With Ani on her high school graduation trip to NYC.

Happy Birthday Stu!! (and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake)

Hi Friends!! — starting off here like a blogger should never start– apologizing for the wonky photos.  But this post isn’t really about beautiful food picutres– it’s about celebrating Stu’s 90th birthday!!  He’s the best father-in-law a girls could have– and all his kids and grand-kids and great grand-kids would say the same!!  (Plus I did want to add this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake recipe– because it was so delish!).

   


Photos:  Stu about to blow out those candles, With Helen (his wife of 68 years!) and Kathi– the party thrower!!  Plus The collection of all Stu’s local kids, grand-kids and those little greats!!  We all love you Stu!

And just in case you love chocolate and peanut butter thrown together as much as I do, here’s the cake recipe:

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CAKE

Cake:
1 chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/4 cup water
3 eggs

Peanut butter frosting:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
4  1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
7 to 8 tab. milk

Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tab. butter
8 oz. chocolate chips (1  1/3 cup)

Garnish:
chopped peanut butter cups
birthday candles!!!

Make the cake according to the directions on the box ( mine used 1/2 cup oil,  1 1/4 cup water and 3 eggs). Spoon the batter into three 8″ or 9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until they are firm to the touch.  Let them cool completely before you add the frosting!!

Make the ganache while the cake it cooking and let it cool.  In a sauce pan, bring the milk and butter to a simmer.  Take it off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips for 2 or 3 minutes until ti’s smooth and shiny.  Let it cool.

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter and vanilla.  Then beat in the powdered sugar and chopped peanuts.  Finally addd the milk one tablespoon full at a time until it is the right consistency–  careful–it’s easy to add too much and have runny frosting!!

To put the cake together– Frost the cake using the peanut butter frosting between, on top and around the 3 layers.  Drizzle the cooled ganache over the top and garnish with chopped peanut butter cups– and candles (!!!) if you have a birthday in the family!

Open Heart, Open Home


Table ready for friends to sit and eat and talk 
together.

Hi friends– The year we lived in Costa Rica, we attended a small church in a village, a bus ride and then a kilometer walk from our home.  We loved those people, who opened their church doors and their arms to us.

One Sunday Eunice asked us to her house for tea after the church service.  She stopped by a little roadside market for a couple tea bags and a small packet of soda crackers.  We sat in her small home cobbled together from scraps of boards and a tin roof,  talked over the tea from chipped cups– and never felt more cared for, more welcome.

I learned a lot about hospitality from dear Eunice.  And learned how to meet friends at the door with welcoming hugs from our buddy Jenni.  And from Tim and Jill, how to make conversation around the table sparkle. I’ve learned impromptu meals can be the best from Carmen–as we carried the table and chairs up stairs onto the roof on a sweltering summer night in southern Spain, to sit and talk and sing over plates of simple tapas.

I’ve learned from Jen Hatmaker, who wrote in her book, For the Love–

“A shared table is the supreme expression of hospitality every culture on earth.  When your worn-out kitchen table hosts good people and good conversation, when it provides a safe place to break bread and share wine, your house becomes a sanctuary, holy as a cathedral.”   (page 116)

There’s a joy to setting plates around a table, anticipating friends in the door, praying for them and the time you will spend together.  And also there’s chocolate cake–that’s always good too.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.   Romans 12: 12-13