books for next to nothing – well, one really is nothing

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Please indulge me good friends while I chime in with a promo by our sponsor. :)

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TELL EVERYONE!

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lookee what we got

Just a quick little post with big news:

New baby! New baby!

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Lookee lookee what we got! A new family member courtesy of my very giving niece and nephew, Ambyr and Nate. Whole world meet Penelope Ruth Thomas. Penelope meet the whole world!

Don’t you just love how precious she is?!?! So alert already and the big bow just takes her over the top. I think she looks a lot like her Uncle Tylers baby picture and he’s also a December baby!

In other news, my parents are home – just in time with little P arriving – and we are heading out of town for a weekend of frivolity with good friends in California. I love this small, busy, world where you can jet off for some fun and still get back to work on time on Monday. My sis Jen and Rod also rolled in from being in the middle of the ocean visiting Easter Island and other exotic locales. Rounding us up into one place is like herding chickens! (Borrowed that from someone and love it!)Choose joy!

wonderful day!

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Thank you Universe for all that I have because I truly live a blessed life.

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We were a small but mighty great group for Thanksgiving this year. Just my sis Lor, my bil Darryl and youngest nephew Spence. And we had such wonderful time.

 

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Naturally, as Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades’ biggest fan on the West Coast, we started out with watching it on the big screen at their place. We cooked, we noshed, we talked, we planned and then we ate! So yummy! Darryl smoked our bird this year and it was beautiful and delish. We had all kinds of great sides and Lor made the most beautiful pies for dessert.

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Somehow, the beautiful, sunny and chilly, day just flew on by without us even noticing. I wouldn’t change a single thing about the whole day. Well, except maybe the sweet potatoes. Darryl and I are always in search of a recipe we like and the search continues! :)

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Leading up to today we had drama at home last night. Glen is stretching his kitchen skills and made banana bread – and overfilled the loaf pan. Which then spilled all over and started a full on fire which then set off the smoke alarms in the house! The animals all freaked out and we had to open every door to the 22 degree temp outside to air out the house and get the alarms to stop. Crazy! Hey, to me, though, it isn’t really Thanksgiving till the smoke alarms go off! :)

And finally today, a giant sized Happy Thanksgiving to my family that is spread out all around the world right now and to all of you who mean so much to me. And a big, big, big Happy Anniversary to my parents who have been married 60 years today! Love you to the moon and back!

some favorites!

I’ve had some favorites lately. Here’s the latest!

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Glen, Tea and I went out for a birthday lunch and Christmas movie yesterday. Now spending time with busy Tea is always on our favorite list but so is lunch and Christmas. Except I took us to the wrong theater which turned out so great because we got to see The Martian! I loved it! I loved the book too and I thought they did a great job on the movie. Matt Damon is perfect as the stranded astronaut and the story, to me, is so uplifting. Every person matters. Also, I am jealous of brilliant people. What a cool super ability. Go see it!!

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Out of the blue, this wonderful coffee table book and really, really nice picture for our wall showed up at our place from Toby, the super duper best friend of Glen. Was that nice or what? This is a really cool coffee table book of the job they worked on together last spring in California. A total treasure. Thank you Toby!

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I totally know this looks weird. These “google glasses” of a sort actually came along with the Sunday New York Times last week. You snapped it together, you download an app on your phone, you insert it in the back of these glasses and then you view a story from the paper. The difference is when you turn your head while wearing the glasses your view changes – as if you were there!! It’s a virtual reality telling of the article and it is a trip watching and hearing it. Very cool New York Times, very cool.

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I LOVE potpourri this time of the year. it smells like the holiday and looks so pretty on the stove. You can get store ready but I just make my own with the spices and fruits I have on hand.

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Lastly, here’s a favorite from Glen. He likes to be the chocolate reviewer and he spied these two at Target recently. Pigs n Taters candy bar!! What a combination. I mean, he had to try it – and he gave it a thumbs up! I’m still unconvinced. But he swears the flavors blended nicely. And, of course, the Grasshopper pie bar scored a thumbs up – chocolate and mint? Call it anything you want, that’s a winner!

thanksgiving week is here!

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Love, love this week though it does mark that Yesvember will soon be coming to a close and I’d like it to linger. So many good things happen this wonderful time of the year. This week alone in my family we:

  • Celebrate my guys birthday!
  • Celebrate my niece Kinga’s birthday!
  • Celebrate my sis Lora and her guys anniversary!
  • And, here’s a biggee, celebrate my parents 60th anniversary! Nice accomplishment, huh?
  • And, of course, we celebrate gratitude on Thursday with the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving.

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That is a lot of good stuff happening in one week! And a whole lot of good stuff has been going on all month really. We just got back from a really fun visit with my parents in Arizona where they took us on an adventure dinner for Glen’s birthday. We went to a spot called Rustler’s Roost – a sawdust on the floor, rootin tootin cowboy kind of place. Super fun and super packed! They had good food, fun atmosphere and some great live music. Made for the perfect celebration spot. It even came with cotton candy for dessert!

While we were there though, Mother Nature got herself worked up into a state and blew down half our county – including the power to 150,000 of our customers! I literally got off the plane, dropped off Glen and headed to the storm center. It took five days to get everyone rehooked up but we’re finally all good. Long days but truly, I love working at a place that provides such an important product to our customers. Electricity is so easy to take for granted – till you don’t have it. Then it bites!

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Also on my good list: all four of my books have made it to the top 100 in their category on Amazon! That has been fun. I am technically now a “best-selling author!” Ha! It is gratifying though that readers are finding and enjoying the books. Makes my heart happy.

You know what else makes me happy? Gratitude! Thanksgiving! All of you! Thanks for being wonderful (and patient as my postings have been so sporadic – thank you!)

some cool things of late

IMG_7153 IMG_1719 I’ve meant to get this posted all week but have been too busy doing all of this to get r done! Today is the day – even though its now week old news and there’s great new things to add on. We’ll start here. First on the news list: Glen got a new truck! He had his last one 20 plus years and it was time for an upgrade and boy is he excited. Love that. He got an F150 with a full backseat in a nice silver color. How I spoil him. :) Pretty nice, huh? IMG_1742 IMG_1769 IMG_1745   IMG_1755 IMG_1761 IMG_1767

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We had a super fun Scary Mary Breakfast Open House on Halloween with a bunch of friends and family. We featured a Bloody Mary Bar and had so much fun seeing so many come in costume. We especially loved our little costume wearers. Savi was a minion and Desi was Cousin Eddy from Christmas Vacation. Super cute! Despite a bunch of rain it was a load of good fun. IMG_7139 And look at this adorable little Cinderella. She was even cuter in person. This is Emmalyn the granddaughter of our good friend Scott. She and her sister Avery are heart stealers. IMG_7134 Check out how cool the dining room table Glen is building for us is looking! I am getting so stinking excited about how it is coming out. I love having something handmade and especially something so great. Can’t wait to have it done. IMG_7143 And check out these earrings my talented sis gifted me with out of the blue. Love them! Aren’t they rather spectacular? I call them “The Road of Life.” IMG_7147 We got to catch up with my college roomie last weekend and her guy which is always a bunch of fun. We used to catch up on Thursday nights for dinner but Seattle traffic has killed that. But we cannot be turned away! We just switched to meeting now for Sunday brunch and this time tried out a Tom Douglas restaurant in Seattle called Etta’s. Thumbs up from all four of us. IMG_7158 IMG_7159 Then the topper for the fun times of the week might have been the visit by these two beauties. Anita got a new tiny pug puppy named Norma Bean and the girls came over for a visit. That puppy is cute in all caps! Holy smokes. I was pretty certain she was going to fight Glen for her. A real treat. IMG_7153 Our neighborhood is rich with color – including this beautiful Japanese maple in our yard which is magnificent every year and always turns colors late. And more color next door too. Our neighbor has her Christmas lights up and on! Tis the season! Love to you all!

getting around

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Alright Alright Alright! That’s how I’m feeling about this good life we’re living and all of you in it.

Since speaking here last, we’ve been to Austin, Texas and back. This time it was a national work conference and I am happy to brag that yours very truly walked away with three main awards thanks to my super creative and hard-working work group. Tah-dah! They always make me look good. :)

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We really enjoyed Austin. Have you been? It is full of great smelling, great tasting barbeque and loads of great music. That is our kind of combination! It was a little bit on the hot side but still doable. Our good friends Toby and Corine from Fresno met us there so Glen had partners to run around with during the days while I worked away at the conference. (So not fair! :) )

They had a blast! They managed to find fun things to do every day and we all went out for some great meals each evening. Living the life baby, living the life!

Back at home, we hit the road running back at work, on the chore list, attending a friend’s conference sessions over the weekend and the best part of all, spending time with our Savanna! Glen went and grabbed her for a day out at the movies and I joined up with the cute twosome for lunch afterward. Such a great use of time.

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This week, I got in a super fun happy hour club meeting with the girlfriends last night but otherwise the evenings have been all about chores and groceries and laundry and prepping for this weekend. My work groups annual work retreat is Friday at our place followed by an early morning Halloween breakfast. Not my best timing but Super T aka Tea is coming to help me get it all ready so all will be well. It’s a wonderful thing having kids you love in your life.

So that is happening Saturday and then on Sunday, well, first of all, don’t forget to fall back (when oh when will lock in on a time and give this old worn out tradition the boot?) and then Glen and I are heading down to Seattle for brunch with my college roomie. We always wait too long and I’m already looking forward to the catch up time.

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Oh and my other big thing this week! Unwrapped is now out as an ebook on Amazon and starting tomorrow for three days The Search for South Pole Santa is free for three days so hop on over to Amazon and pick one up for some joy filled holiday reading. Tell everyone! I love getting to give it away.

an island to remember

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Okay, we’ve been off adventuring this month and I’m behind on sharing on the where’s and whats. So we’ll start with the trip to parts nearby but a tiny bit far away.

This year for our birthday’s – which happen to be in the same week – Tina and I requested our guys take us to one of the top restaurants in the world which happens to be located right here in the Northwest. It’s called The Willows and is located on one of the San Juan Islands just a five minute ferry ride off the mainland.

We booked in July but had to wait till October to get in – its just that popular. It turned out to be the very perfect time to go though. Saturday was super super super stormy and Sunday was super sunny and perfect. The best of both! There really is no better time to be in an ocean view room, on the beach then during a churning sea storm. So dramatic and fun! We got lucky and kept our power too which was a bonus. But I’m jumping ahead!

First, on our way up, we stopped to watch Tina’s youngest son James play in a soccer game. Can you say drenched? Holy rain water was it wet! I kind of liked it though. It reminded me of years ago standing out and watching my nephews play in soccer games in those same kind of conditions. Good times, my friends, good times.

From there we hit a pub in Mount Vernon to warm up and got lucky with a good one. The Skagit Bay Pub was busy when we got there but we only had a ten minute wait before we scored a good table. Lots of variety on the menu and we all liked what we had. I would totally go back to have the steamed clams again. Super yummy.

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Then it was off to catch a ferry to the island. A 16 car ferry. So much fun. I’ve never been on such a little ferry. We were one of the last on. It chugged its way across and I’m pretty sure we boarded, paid, crossed and unloaded all within a ten minute time span.

Lummi Island is a hidden gem! You know how you get in your head how something is sometimes? Well in this case I had decided Lummi Island was a small flat island – only to find out it is decent size, not flat at all, with lush trees, picturesque homes and stunning views. Really inviting.

We started with a stop at the island grocery store which seemed to carry one of most things it carried. This is definitely a small time grocery. We were there for wine though and they had it so all was well in our world. J

From there, we decided to take the circuitous route to our inn and loved the drive despite the wind and the rain coming in torrents. At one spot it was churning up the sea so much it came in big waves across the road. Cool!!

The Willows Inn is a funky kind of spot for so much acclaim. (And acclaim it gets. The day we were there it was featured in the Wall Street Journal.) We checked in expecting to stay at the Inn but instead found we were “assigned” to two rooms in a house a mile and a half away. So off we went.

IMG_7039  To a wonderful house! One we would move into if we could. We got to stay in this beautiful home with the sea view and beach out front and a beautiful estuary out back. We turned on the fireplace, poured a glass of wine and decided we didn’t even really need dinner.

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But who are we kidding? Of course we did! We were foodies on a quest! We knew this would be an unusual dinner. It is a set price and set courses that takes several hours. We all had eaten at the Herb Farm before though and thought we were in for something similar. And it was.

And totally different too. This dinner turned out to be 20 courses! T W E N T Y. And we didn’t leave too full.

Each “course” really was one to three bites. The inn keeps its food to what is found locally and seasonally. We had bites of delectable fish, then a veggie, then a green chestnut, then a chunk of bread – no matter the course it was fragrant, fresh and delicious. It was also very simple. This was not a dinner of fancy sauces and fal-da-rah. This was a dinner where the ingredients were expected to stand on their own with the simplest of supporting ingredients.

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From first bite to last, we thought it was pretty close to the perfect evening. The next morning we spoiled ourselves with a leisurely wake up, a walk and an island breakfast at the Beach Café before we caught the same ferry back to reality.

I think its pretty cool and pretty dang fun that this little spot on Lummi Island has garnered world-wide attention. I’m not sure it would be on my top ten list but I am sure that we’re all glad we went. Everyone should go! It’s an adventure and life should be packed with those.

healing and hauling

A shout out to my middle sis healing up from getting her gall bladder yanked out this week. Love you sis. Hope you are on the road to fast recovery. Celebrate with a big dish of something you haven’t been able to eat!

She’s not alone in her healing over there. Their quirky little Franky the dachshund is also ailing so the two have been curled up close together on the couch. So sweet. Please send him your good thoughts. We all love the little guy.

Continuing on that theme, my mom had a shot in her back this week in hopes of alleviating some of the chronic pain she has before they head back down to Arizona for a while. Then Glen was in to his doctor this week to get his hand cast removed. Goodness! Aren’t all of us something else. Happy healing you two!

But we’re all good. Banged up a little – and a little more than that for some (As Glen shared with us, after his doc took x-rays of his legs and arms, he came back in and told Glen “you’re going to want to get a punch card.” Poor guy!) Still, we live in times of modern medicine with the hope of healing and relief.

As Glen has been healing with his hand surgery he has still been busy around the house and we both are wondering how we would have got all the things done without this time having him at home.  You can’t believe all the things he/we’ve been busy with. This month he’s been point on:

  • We gutted our garage and shop area. Thirty three boxes went to good causes! We have the rest of the basement to go but we are getting very close on having gone through almost everything. So great. Now we need to loop through again and do some more.
  • Got a new refrigerator. It was delivered and the old one hauled away but it was my guy who cleaned it all out and restocked the new.
  • Got a new roof put on the flat part of our roof. It had to have the old ripped off and the new put down. Glen has done that before but this time we turned to a service but even with that, it was a bunch of work.
  • We got a new sofa! We’re enjoying it and he made it happen. All I did was pick it out.
  • He has taken nine truck loads of yard clippings to the dump! Nine! We had major trimming and clipping that had to happen. Even with his bad hand he kept at it. Took days since it was slow going with only one arm but it looks very improved. Best of all, we can see clearly again out of our front windows!
  • Got our deck all ready for the winter season.
  • He’s working on building us a new dining room table in the same kind of rustic style as our new end table. It’s going to be super cool I think in the end but he can only sand with one hand so its still “in progress.”
  • He’s done extensive homework and test driving of trucks. His truck is an oldie and a new vehicle is definitely on the list. Maybe not quite yet though. We’re still acclimating to the price tags!
  • He cooked!!! We enjoyed three days of his first stew ever and some really great banana bread. (Who is this guy?!?)
  • On top of all that, every day has brought new “honey do’s” and run around and he’s tackled it all. I have to say, I have really enjoyed having a “house husband.” Such a great hubby. It’s going to be weird having him go back to work!

a really great week

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I have had such a good week. I mean it was just packed with great stuff! Here’s my list:

I loved welcoming in October with the rare red full moon eclipse. Wowza! What an end to September and hello to October! Loved it.

Glen and I sent 33 boxes of things from our home to the Goodwill. With love and without hesitation. It needed to be done and was way overdue and we both feel great about it. Yes, it was some really wonderful stuff and I can hardly wait for others to get to discover it and love it like we did at one time.

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Welcome new refrigerator! Our old one finally chilled its last bottle of wine and water and our new one arrived yesterday. We both are already super excited about it. And ice maker and water in the door! So spoiled! And I am super jazzed about the color too.

I received three really nice notes – all from friends/online friends – about my books and asking about when the new one would be coming out. So nice of them! I had been churning about staying with it or not and why I seem obsessed to see the series through when they just aren’t read by many so kindness about them is beyond words for me.

And speaking of books, Amazon wrote this week to say Unwrapped is almost ready! Tina, my dear friend and cover artist left for England yesterday but super kindly scrambled to get the cover turned in for me so I should be seeing the new book as early as next week. Always exciting.

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My super cool group at work noticed it was “National Custodial Day” today which, okay, is sort of bogus but it does help draw attention to an often underappreciated group. We all put together a bunch of great snack foods for them that hit the spot.

I had a really wonderful lunch with a friend I don’t see often. Love those good updates where conversation and big ideas just flow! And she treated! Thanks Erin!

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I got my nails done, my hair done, had a super fun time with my family at one sisters watching the Seahawks game, a yummy dinner at mom/dads with one of my sisters,a great visit in with Tamy at band practice and my parents treated us to dinner tonight with my nephew, niece and little Jackson.

Seriously all of that in one week. I. Live. Lucky.

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