Friday, March 28, 2008

Empty Nest...Oh my!

My last child, Jenna is getting ready to leave next Wednesday for six months, to participate in a YWAM mission base in Perth, Australia. This is something we have been praying about and planning for over a year. I really want this experience for her. It will be such a great time for her to grow and give of herself to others. YWAM stands for Youth With A Mission. It is a Christian based organization that gives young people a chance to learn how to love the world around them. They participate in a three month training phase, then they are sent out to a third world country to help and reach out to people in need. Her group will be going to Jakarta for their outreach phase. I am so excited and delight that my daughter will have this fabulous opportunity. BUT and this is a big but, I am finally having to face up to all my children being gone from the nest. Now I am obviously not the first mommy to have to go through this. But last night, I had such a melt down. I went into my daughter’s room late at night and begged her to let me rub her back, and just hang out with her. Oh my how do we let them all grow up? I guess it is not about me letting her...she just is. Jenna is such a wonderful girl with so much in life going for her. Please forgive me but I feel a big need to indulge myself here. So here is a little slide show for a trip down memory land. I will miss her so much!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Springtime in Seattle

Well I am in the mood for spring. How about you? I was just browsing through some old photos and came across some of the yummiest tulips that I photographed at Pike's Market a few years ago. These colors scream spring time. I’ll show you around Seattle a bit too!
Here are my girls a few years ago, just entering Pike's Market in downtown Seattle

This is what the outside main entrance looks like.

It is a most fascinating place to browse around in. The market has been here in this spot since 1907. The Pike Place Market is Seattle's number one tourist draw. Sandwiched between the waterfront and the main drag of First Avenue, this public farmers market has been a hub of waterfront activity since its first day of business, August 17, 1907, when 10,000 visitors overwhelmed vendors.

We are mostly going to hang out by the flower section of the market today.

There are many, many flower vendors and the competition is fierce.

Okay I am in spring heaven right here...sigh Now we will go take a little peek at the stinky fish market.

I must admit I have never seen one of these fish drop! But I am scared every time they throw these guys flying through the air.

Dahdah !
So let's check out one more famous landmark. This indeed is the very first orignal Starbucks!

Right across the street from the market. A lot of great people watching here.

It is a very colorful place in the city :>]

Girls getting their coffee's

Now for the hike back UP the hills of Seattle to our hotel. Nothing beats a sunny day in this city. Sun being a very special commodity on the west side of the state!

Hope you enjoyed the tour, and the eye candy of spring!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Italian Easter Bread

Look what I made today. I am not a big baker, but on special occasions I do like a little tradition. It was very nice when my husband came into the kitchen as I was cooling off this anise scented sweet bread and said "It smells like Easter." Sometimes scent works on our memory as much as what we taste and what we see. The smell and taste of this fresh bread brings me right back to my grandmother's kitchen.
I remember her baking this bread when I was a very small child. This memory stands out for me, because she did a little something extra when she made this. She formed a small little loaf just for me that looked like a bunny butt with ears. Over the years I have continued this tradition with my family. Now I just can't wait till Eden is older and we can bake Bunny Butts together.

To all my blogging buddies: Have a wonderful Easter, and a weekend full of His mercy and grace.


For the bread:
2 teaspoons yeast
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm milk
about 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour (preferably bread flour)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
11/2 tsp. anise & 1tsp. of almond extracts
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs, beaten

For the topping:
1 cup of powder sugar
1 tsp. anise & ½ tsp. of almond
enough milk to make a drippy icing

Five colored hard boiled eggs.

Mix the yeast into the warm milk and let it sit for about five minutes to activate the yeast. While this is happening, mix the flour, salt, sugar, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. After the five minutes is up, add the milk, butter, and eggs to the well. Mix the flour into the wet ingredients with a sturdy spoon or your hands. If you are using a spoon you will have to switch to your hands once the dough gets really thick. Remove the dough to a smooth surface and knead it for about ten minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. While mixing and kneading add more water as needed to keep the dough soft and sticky. For those of you with a stand mixer such as a Kitchen Aid, you can use the J hook to mix and knead the dough.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a greased large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and leave it in a warm place such as an unwarmed gas oven with a pilot light, an electric oven warmed for about 10-20 seconds, or in the sun for about 4 hours until the dough is doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and let it sit for about ten minutes. At this point you could wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight for baking the next morning. If you do this, let the dough sit out and warm up a bit before moving on to the next step.
Divide the dough into two pieces and roll the dough with your hands into two ropes that are about 1 1/2 to 2 feet long. Pinch one end of the two ropes together and twist one over the other to form a braid. Pinch the other ends together to form a braided circle. Place colored eggs into spaces of braid. Place this on a greased cookie sheet, cover it again with plastic or a towel, and let it rise for about 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
Place the bread in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake until the bread is a golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. This can take anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes, so check the oven often! Remove the baked bread to a cooling rack. While the bread is still slightly warm, drizzle on icing, and top with sprinkles. Try to serve the bread the day it is made, but it will stay fresh for several days if you wrap it well in foil or plastic wrap.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My precious little bunny!

Visit Quill Cottage for an
Easter Parade

Puddin Toes at six months

Those are some cute toes!
For you Auntie Chris!
Megan & Eden
All my girls!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Welcome to My Garden Tour

Welcome to a tour of my previous garden that I tended for 12 years. It seems I am getting a little impatient for this garden to grow in my new house. So I am taking a stroll down memory lane to my old garden. We are going to start the tour looking from the inside out. I read somewhere once, not only design your garden from a street perspective, but to also keep in mind what your garden will look like from the inside of the home out. A light bulb went on that day, and I began to plant my gardens with the inside view in mind as well as the outside. Just think of your windows as a picture window that can frame and capture a beautiful scene for you. “A Room with a View"

So this is looking out my front door window, to the street. I had a lovely spring garden planted in this bed, with also great attention to scent. I loved walking out the front door to sit on the porch and smell the Rock Daphne, and the roses when in bloom.
Now here is the street view of the front of my house. I was going for an old cottage garden theme here.

I had two climbing roses growing on my front porch, this one on the right is Renee', a thorn less ever blooming rose that I purchased at Ralph Moore, Sequoia Gardens Nursery in CA. This man is known as the father of mini roses. He had a lot more going on there in his nursery than mini's though. I was very privileged to meet this man one day at his nursery. He sent me home with two free mini tree roses to test in my garden. My favorite miniature of his was Lavender Crystal. It was such a great shade of lavender, larger blooms, and a lovely scent. I managed to bring a cutting into this new garden.

So once upon a time, I hosted a garden tour in my yard. It was the last summer we were to live here, and I thought, why not. All this work I have poured into this yard, let the public enjoy it, and raise some money for charity.
So now we can see the othe rose on my front porch. Cl. New Dawn I am not growing one of these in my new place, but it was a good bloomer. I did take a cutting of Renee' and she rules my front court yard.
Heading out to the backyard north side.
Now we are at the gate to my backyard and about to enter the north side garden. I have already posted about this lovely spot, so I will refer you back to that post. It is worth the peek, if you haven't already seen it. We had a porch on this side of the house too, and spend many an evening viewing the gardens and the sunsets from this lovely vantage point.
Some lovely ladies. Actually these are students from a Intern Bible class I teach.
I grew over 100 roses in this garden, but here is a spot I grew a few single only roses.

So here is peek over the fence, so you might just go take a real look. You will see plenty more pictures of this arbor. For those that want to know, I have two Cl. roses planted on here. This side (north) is Constance Spry; I believe it is David Austin’s first English rose. On the south side I grew Zepherine Droughin. I have cuttings started of both these roses in my new gardens. I wouldn't be with out either one.
Now here is the north side garden being viewed from my second story master bathroom. It was in fact from this window, that my overall design took root. I loved looking out that window every morning.

Here is the winter view. It still holds interest because of what they call "good bones" Which means the garden had a good structure, not just the fluff of flowers.

And here it is again in the fall.

And here is a ground level view of my glorious rose arbor from the north side porch.
So we are still on the north side, but I didn't show you my potager garden last time. Here I grew grapes, herbs, raspberries, vegetables and a few fury friends.

I often felt like Mrs. McGregor, trying to keep the rabbits out of my lettuce

But they were not too deterred, here are some new spring bunnies, making a home in my compost bin.

Now we are turning around to face south to see the backyard of my garden. Right behind the house we had a pool. On the other side I had another garden which we will call the south side garden.
This is looking at the back of the house.We had a rather unsightly chain link fence around the pool for saftey. So I grew everything green I could think of on it. Including some of Mr. Moore's Cl. Miniture Roses.
This was dubbed the courting swing. Many a nights my daughter and her future husband held hands on this swing while they were falling in love.....ooooooooohhh :]

As you can see in the background here is the southside garden with a cute little garden shed as its focal point.

This is looking north from the south side garden...are ya with me? We used this area of the garden for the dog, the clothesline, and to have barbeques.

There was definitely a more cottagy look to this side of the garden.
Here you can glimpse the third porch on my house, coming off the kitchen.

So when we are looking at the garden shed, looking west now, and turn to the left (south) we see our clothesline/arbor/bench. I loved this little spot. In between the arbors 2x6's ran cloths line. This was a small replica of the same clothesline arbor my mother had in our first home. I so remember playing in that spot with the sun, and the scent of roses mingled with fresh line dried laundry.

This is a small rose garden on the other side of the arbor.

Now we are heading out the south side arbor. For some reason, this arbor never quite bloomed and flourished as the north side arbor did. Probably tree roots, too much heat, and poor choice of cl. roses here.

So out to the front yard, at the end of my garden tour were a few ladies set up doing some plein air painting. This lady was painting my mailbox garden. It was a very fun day. We ended up selling our home that week by owner as a result of this garden tour.

I hope you all enjoyed it, I know I loved my trip down memory lane.

Now I need to get focused here and will this new little baby garden into growing....!!!!!!!!!!!

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