Monday, June 19, 2017

Smashed Penny Collection

I found these glass trays at a garage sale for a local charity.  Yep, I paid 25 cents a piece. I like to use them in my bathroom vanity. However, I have a collection of smashed pennies and they look great in this glass tray instead of having them stashed in some drawer.  My family has enjoyed looking through them.  I have about 70 of them.  I keep finding them as I clean out various places now I have place to keep them all together. People know I like these smashed pennies them so they bring them back to me.  I love these cheap tokens.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Hike #1 - Trek for Treasure

Mrs Epi and I and Stanley, the puppy, went on our first hike in Rockport State Park on Friday June 9th with Trek for the Treasure.   Check out my first post on Trek for the Treasure for all the details about our this hiking adventure. Rockport State Park is an old growth forest that is a 632 acre day use park.  The park is approximately 1.5 hours from us so we had to find a day that worked in the 2 week window. We hiked the day after a rain storm so it was a bit on the muddy side. Glad I took Mrs Epi's suggestion of extra shoes.

It was a beautiful hike on the Evergreen Trail with lots of mossy large growth trees, banana slugs, and mushrooms growing on trees. Both of us thought it was a bit more up and down than we expected for a first hike. It was a 3 mile hike.

Of course, I used Digital Project Life to document. We found the clue box which was a skeleton in the woods. Stanley the dog wanted nothing to do with the skeleton.  He barked and barked. Hopefully, we didn't traumatize him for life. We were team #133 to sign the logbook out of approximately 200 teams.

The only hike were team placement counts is the last hike as the first 100 get a special prize.  Looking forward to the next hike.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

What I Read June

I am linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy.  Check out what everyone else is reading this month. I managed to read quite a lot of books this month. I was on a roll.

Trespassing Across America By Ken Ilgunas

When I picked this up, I thought that this was perhaps too liberal of book for me.  The cover intrigued me.  I didn't really want to read about the Alaskan Pipeline. I can say why Ken is not for the pipeline but he got me to think about the pipeline as he walked what would be the route of the pipeline.  I thought it was thoughtful and there is something there for both liberals and conservatives. This was an incredibly interesting book about the many sides of the pipeline and where it runs through the US and the people along it.

What is the solution? How will we get there? If we could travel five hundred years into the future and see things turned out okay, how did we make it okay, and how can we now, as individuals  and as a country, make real this future of okayness.- Ken Ilgunas

A pipeline is built to send a resource form a place that has a lot of resources to a place that doesn't. But civilization won't collapse without new oil pipelines, it'll will collapse without clean water, healthy soil, and a stable climate. What we ultimately  need, it seems , cannot be delivered by a pipe.- Ken Ilgunas

The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel

I had a hard time putting this down.  It was intriguing read about Empress Wu and what happens behind palace doors. Of course, there is back stabbing, romance, political intrigue. There is a sequel to this book but I haven't read it yet.

Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott

This was OK for me. Set in the early start of the industrial age and talks about the girls who work in the cotton mill in Lowell. There was mystery and romance.  This is a good summer read.

Sisi by Allison Pataki

Married to Emperor Franz Joseph, Elisabeth—fondly known as Sisi—captures the hearts of her people as their “fairy queen,” but beneath that dazzling persona lives a far more complex figure. In mid-nineteenth-century Vienna, the halls of the Hofburg Palace buzz not only with imperial waltzes and champagne but with temptations, rivals, and cutthroat intrigue. Feeling stifled by strict protocols and a turbulent marriage, Sisi grows restless. A free-spirited wanderer, she finds solace at her estate outside Budapest. There she rides her beloved horses and enjoys visits from the Hungarian statesman Count Andr├íssy, the man with whom she’s unwittingly fallen in love. But tragic news brings Sisi out of her fragile seclusion, forcing her to return to her capital and a world of gossip, envy, and sorrow where a dangerous fate lurks in the shadows.- Amazon review

This was an interesting read. I am a sucker for this type of historical fiction.

Life in Motion by Misty Copeland

This was a Modern Mrs Darcy recommendation for a memoir.  I have been a fan of Misty for a while. I find her back story on how she became a ballerina fascinating. You can't but help but admire Misty's drive. Misty is a remarkable woman and dancer.

The Last Season by Eric Blehm

The story of a missing back country ranger, Randy Morgenson,  and the resulting search in the Sierra Nevada's.  The mystery why he disappeared . Wow, this book was hard to put down true story.  Some parts of this reminded me of Ranger Confidential. I am in awe of the jobs our Rangers do in National Parks.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Summer Fun Linky/ Ideas

Many Many of you have children have kids out of school.  We have to go until June 27th.  I am not bitter.  Wait, I am.  Anyways, I thought I would give some links to easy summer fun ideas especially if you are going to have kids home all summer long.

I have done a variety of things with my kids during the summer from  making bucket lists, exploring a different park each week, and Adventure Crew experiences with my best friend and family. I think it is important to have a loose plan or an unplan as I call it. I want to give my kids downtime but I think a little structure helps. We always have a meeting to determine the summer rules with our kids and usually they are agreed on together. I found this extremely helpful because I am able to say you came up with this rule not me. I now have teenagers so it is a whole new ball game in some ways.

It seems like every blogger has a take on this.  So here is a linky to end all linky's.

24 Budget Friendly Summer Activities for Kids- 100 Dollars a Month - Mavis has some great ideas

Coolest Summer Activity Books for Kids

16 Frugal Activities for Summer - love that geocaching is included on this list

Summer Bucket List- 100 Things to do in Summer from The Idea Room

Summer Break Survival Guide - excellent advice

20 So Cool Crafts for Teens and Tweens - this seems more geared towards girls

50 Boredom Busters for Summer - from Skip to My Lou - a lot of variety here

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Trek for Treasure- The Beginning

Trek for Treasure is a unique hiking adventure that brings together people who care about their fitness, enjoy the outdoors, and embrace healthy competition. Join us this summer on six hikes throughout Skagit County and the surrounding area. Your team of two or more people have two weeks to complete each hike, at your own pace and convenience. Hidden at the end of each hike is a clue. Complete all six hikes, collect the clues, and locate the treasure! - From Trek for Treasure 

My friend, Mrs Epi,  and I were out walking in Bellingham last summer and we kept seeing all these people with Trek for the Treasure t-shirts.  This particular trail dead ends and we decided to eat our lunch there.  We actually caught some ladies finding the clue.  We asked them what they were doing and they enlisted us to take their picture with the clue. Right then and there, Mrs Epi and I decided we would be down to try that. 

Newspaper Article on the Trek

I hope to document our experience.  We are just regular Mom's that like to take walks.  We are calling our team Fluffy Squirrels.  (Will have to practice saying that with straight face)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Out of Control TBR list

TBR stands for TO BE READ.  So many great recommendations out there and so little time. My TBR list has taken over my grocery list.  (See Below) The LIST is epic.

On the list

Special Topics in Calamity Physics (maybe)

The Last Season by Eric Blehm (read in May)

Dear Bob and Sue by Matt Smith

The Echo of Twilight

The House by the Lake by Thomas Harding

Lilli de Jong

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach

The Seven Husband of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel

The Keeper of Lost Things

At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider

We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby

Elanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny

Talking as Fast as I can by Lauren Graham (audiobook)

Life in Motion by Misty Copeland (read in May)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Old People Riding Bikes with Youngsters

Last Monday, our friends invited us to bike in Birch Bay.  So we took our youngest and biked with them.  Notice there are no pictures of bikes.  That was because I was huffing and puffing the whole way. The first part was OK. We stopped at Birch Bay State Park to do some tide pooling. The beach was crowded with the Memorial Day Crowd but we managed to see a bunch of crabs and little starfish.
baby starfish

Giant Man Child with the kiddos. Princess of Quie A Lot
Giving him a lesson on crabs

It was all well and good until we started back. My son's bike broke and my will to pedal one more step was tested.  In all, we think we biked around 8 miles. My husband and I decided we are old. Parts of us really hurt. We also decided our companions were in a lot better shape.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

June Linky Love

An English Article about The Artist that Hides Giant Wooden Giants around Copenhagen

Hostas - a good article on gardening expectations and enjoying life

The Hardest Part of Everything - Love me some Emily Freeman insight

What Happens When You Plant Bear Scat - I joke that my friend is a scat expert.  This is really interesting.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Birch Bay Tide Pooling

Saturday, I got the boys to go to the beach. My teen boys just don't hang out with their mom much. I understand but it is nice when they do. So on a busy memorial day weekend, we headed to Birch Bay State Park.  The tide was extremely low. We were able to explore various tide pools.  We saw lots of little crab and a few big crab. Charlie collected a few sand dollars.  We usually don't see starfish unless the tide is incredibly low so today was our lucky day. Most people were out clamming.
Charlie relocating a crab
Photo by CMR

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What I Learned May

I haven't done one of these for a while.  I thought I would give it my best shot. I am linking up with Chatting at the Sky.  Check out what other people learned this month.


Our hot tub cover failed.  So we found a relative cheap option to make .  It was a roll-up cover made with tarps and sticks.  It just couldn't hold up to our torrential down pours.  It wasn't stiff enough.  It was a bummer.  The good news the biggest cost was time not material. So, it is back to the drawing board.


Able accounts are tax-advantaged saving accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families. ABLE accounts allow individuals with disabilities to save for future disability related expenses without the assets counting against their federal and state benefits asset limits aka SSI.  The state I live in Washington plans on launching their version of an ABLE account late this summer. The ABLE Resource Center is a good source for more information.


We made meatball subs on a stick and they were a hit. The recipe can be found on Cookies & Cups. I substituted pizza dough for the bread portion.


Yes that is the LAST DAY of school for the YEAR. So, we had 11 snow days and have to make up 8 of them. That brings our end date to June 27th.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Parades, Late Ferries, and Birthday's

We had quite the weekend. It was Chuck's birthday on Saturday but before that he marched Friday evening in the Jr Ski to Sea Parade with the Ferndale Combined Middle School Band.

On Saturday, we enjoyed a morning with rocket donuts per the request of the Birthday Boy.  Of course, I left him a little chalk art.

Then we dropped him off to march with the Ferndale High School Marching Band in the Rhody Parade in Port Townsend.

The 8th graders got to march with them to cap off the marching season.  The Giant Man Child and I headed to catch the ferry to Port Townsend.

Mrs Epi and family met us at the ferry.  It was a beautiful ferry ride. We walked on the ferry.  We had never done that before.  We have driven on many times but never just walked on.  We managed to snag seats on the Port Townsend side to watch the parade.  The parade had lots of High School Bands as far away as Lake Stevens and lots of different Princesses for various festivals.

Unbeknownst to us, the band who took a later ferry was stuck on the Coupeville side because the ferry was down.  The band gave an impromptu concert in the ferry parking lot while they waited.  They even showed it on the Channel 5 news.  Charlie wasn't playing as he was carrying the American flag in the parade and his trumpet was buried under the bus.  He helped to shoot some video. Eventually, they made it to the Port Townsend side and into the parade.
So Serious

It was a long day but a good one.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Autism Linky

Just some interesting Autism links that I found helpful and interesting.

Groundbreaking Research links Autism with Histamine, inflammation and mast cell activation - try to say that 3 times fast.  I think there might be something here.

Autism Goes Mainstream, Is it Enough? This is a question I have asked numerous times.  In my opinion, I don't think so.

Shedding New Light on Learning Disabilities

What Inspired Me to Help Improve the Lives of  Those with Autism - interesting article about organization Coding Autism which seeks to train and place those with autism in the technology sector.

When Behavior is the Disability

Researchers have ditched the vaccines cause autism theory  Here is what they think causes Autism.

World's Largest Autism Genome Shines Light On The Many Autisms

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What I Read May

 It was a bit of a slow reading month for me.

I feel like I should go to the reading confessional.  I re-read Outlander after watching the first season on DVD.  It is on the racy side but I thought well done

So I read Outlander in book form and Dragonfly in Amber in e book format. I am waiting to read Voyager .

So in the mean time I read fan fiction but recommended by Diana Gabaldon herself Finding Fraser by KC Dyer.  It was a quick chick lit book and I enjoyed it.

Emma quits her job and travels to Scotland to find her Jaime Fraser.  Her sister does not approve. She starts a blog to detail her adventures. Emma starts by visiting the landmarks found in the book Outlander.  She has lots of mishaps and challenges.  You'll have to read if she finds her Jaime Fraser.

Monday, May 8, 2017

What is up in my Garden?

I am keeping it simple.  Not having nailed down our summer plans.  I didn't want to commit to much. I am growing two types of potatoes, rhubarb, blueberries, strawberries and a cut flower garden.

I have a rhubarb that is out of control. The thing is a monster. I need to start making some rhubarb goodies.

I had forgotten that Nonna had gotten me these beautiful orange Tulips so it was a complete surprise when they popped out.

I got my potatoes planted in the trash can and additional pot.

I am going to try to grow my cut flower garden in this pallet.  It has ground cover cloth stapled to it.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Parade Season - Holland Day Happenings Parade

Last week was the start of parade season for our youngest.  He is in middle school band and a 8th grader.  I made the below layout using Digital Project Life.  This year he is carrying the Washington State Flag for his band, the Combined Ferndale Middle School Band, in the Holland Happenings Parade Oak Harbor, Washington.   He volunteered to carry the flag. This year was overcast and on cold side.  We were glad we brought our chairs and blankets..

Sunday, April 30, 2017

End of April Linky love

I guess the ad above even created controversy.  Maybe a bit too simplistic but I thought it was way better than the Pepsi ad.

Why do You Ruminate?

This Story Proves Why You Need to Stop Staying, Call Me If You Need Anything - Good Reminder

7 of the Coolest Figet Spinners - this is so totally a thing right now.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Spring Fever Book Reviews

Once again, I am linking up to Modern Mrs Darcy's Quick Lit.  This was a better reading month for me.

I was so excited to get the Floret Cut Flower Garden book.  Floret is actually not to far from where I live. I have been following Erin's blog for a bit. This is book is so good.

I am anxious to get out in my garden. I have been talking about how inspired I am to have a cut flower garden this year. Mine will be small. Erin makes a Cut Flower Garden so approachable.  The pictures in this book are amazing. I can't stop gushing about this book.

Loved this article - What happened to traditional floral bouquets?

Rise  by Cara Brookins is another book I tackled this past month.  I think many people may have heard of Cara's house building project using YouTube videos.  This book was brought to my attention through this article by CNN. This is really a remarkable story of a single Mom to 4 kids building a home.  Cara is a domestic abuse survivor and the remarkable behind the story of her journey of rebuilding her life after leaving her abusive husband and prior to that a husband that was a scary schizophrenic. You can't not read this and not admire Cara and her kids.  They are survivors. This book isn't eloquently written but it is raw and real. If you can build a house, you can do anything.

Lastly, I read A Tender Struggle by Krista Bremer.  This book I had the most mixed feelings about. The language in this book is beautiful.  I think the word pictures is what kept me reading.  This is a memoir about Krista's marriage to a Muslim from Libya.  Krista describes herself as a feminist.  This is a true story about a marriage of people from 2 very different cultures. Krista retells her visit to Libya when Muammar Gaddafi was in power. Sometimes it was a bit raw but it was definitely interesting.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sharing is Caring- Adventures in Thrifting

I don't know why I am sharing this but it made me laugh.  My local Value Village has started to do little furniture vignettes.  This one really caught my eye.

They actually make the very interesting floral couch work. Honestly,when I walked up on this display the couch wasn't the very first thing I noticed. It kinda all works together in an odd way. My friend thought without the throw pillows it would of been better.

So the lesson is even if you have a hideous couch, you too can minimize it impact in your room.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Saturday, April 1, 2017

What I Learned March

I haven't done one of these in a while so I decided to give it a go.


I have been listening to the podcast Missing Richard Simmons.  I learned how over the top Richard was.  I also have come to the conclusion based on podcast that Richard is not being held against his will.  He simply had something traumatic happen to him and he became a recluse.  Richard doesn't sound like the type of guy who does goodbyes well and it was just easier for him to hide away.  This is 6 episodes and I thought well done. Give it a listen.


That daffodils excrete a toxic ooze after being cut so don't put fresh cut daffodils directly in water or they won't last. Instead let them sit cut outside of water for a few hours before placing in a vase.
Photo of Nonna's Daffodils
Photo by Nonna


I have been making this braided sesame semolina bread and it is so good and makes two huge loaves. I have been using my stand mixer to mix up.  It was a bit much for my bread maker.  I thought I had a picture but I don't.  You will have to trust me on this one. I buy my semolina and sesame seeds in WINCO's bulk bins. I had an INCIDENT with the sesame seeds at WINCO and I made quite the mess in the bulk bins.  They pour out fast.  Learn from me people.


Ok, this is so genius.  I wish I had thought it up myself. I literally organized all my bobbin mess in 10 minutes