Thursday, August 1, 2019

Two Crazy Peas in a Pod

A beautiful reminder from our Creator to take in the beauty of the world

Yesterday as I passed a colleague in the hallway at work, I casually asked if he was enjoying his summer, and his quick reply as he hurried along was, “nope, too much to do here”.  It made me sad and I can identify with him on some level. Life is busy with all sorts of things to catch our time - family, career, household/outdoor tasks and somewhere friends and fun hopefully fit into those few gaps in our lives.

For me (and I’ll bet this is your life too) it is a conscious effort to make time to slow down and enjoy life. And time away from daily stresses is nothing short but blissful.  Alert: If you run from friends “vacation pictures and recount of their vacation”… this is your time to run!  Lol    Just let me remind you to please take time to get away from your daily life to reconnect with you and to make time in the downtime mode to recharge your soul. If you are a gluten for punishment, well here is my take on our vacation. In my last blog post,  I recounted our time in Montana and now for the rest of the vacay story…..

And we're off to the San Juan Isles!
A couple weeks ago sweetheart, Rod and I got back from almost 2 weeks on the ocean puttering around the San Juan Islands as well as the Canadian portion too.  The days were filled with unscripted time and taking in the beauty of the area. Rod had carefully planned where we would be each day, but other than that, mornings were leisurely started with coffee and the days just flowed sweetly like molasses, slowly. Depending on the location, some were remote and we spent hours looking for sea glass to busier marina’s which were filled with walking around the area taking in the sights.  This time at the San Juan’s my love of rural quietness made me appreciate the smaller and quaint marinas as well as the bays where we hooked up to buoys.  I’ll put in my request with the captain for more seclusion for our next  trip… =)
This makes Rod nervous when the boat is lowered into the water
A collage of just some of the photos from the trip...

There was just one day that we had to be somewhere on time to pick up Rod’s daughter and boyfriend as they were flying in for a fun filled week-end with us on the boat. Rod and I looked at each other like what!?! we have to be somewhere on time???   Ugh it was a shock to our system as we were on island time… lazy days – but we made it on time!  The week-end with Chelsea and Dylan was enjoyable and easy as they are such a fun couple to hang out with.  A day spent at Butchart Gardens was filled with visual delight and made me want to go play it the dirt. We ate, shopped, enjoyed cocktails each evening and it ended with a comfort food dinner at a big ole mansion on Rosario Island before the kids flew back to Seattle.
This cute couple had to fly back to Seattle after a fun week-end
There we had also met up with Rod’s good friends, Melody and Jeff.  And it seemed the week kept getting better as the next day we joined them on Decatur Island, their second home base.  Their place has a special feel to it and invites you to just relax. It is also next to the small community garden that several families use for fresh vegetables.  That night dinner consisted of freshly picked greens for a salad along with homemade pizza on the BBQ (one of my fav dinners). Later we sat around their fire pit sipping wine and conversation flowed freely.  It couldn’t have been a better setting and I was happy to have brought along jeans and fleece as nights are chilly. The next day due to stormy weather, we opted to all head to Kirkland and stay with Melody and Jeff at their home on the mainland and then head home.  Unexpectedly we had an extra day due to a brake issue on the boat trailer.  Mel and Jeff are wonderful hosts and it gave me an opportunity to get to know these special friends even better along with their son, Ian, who popped in for dinner with us.
The perfect way to end the evening, friends, wine and the warmth of the fire.
 After that life sped up again as we rolled into Spokane at 5:15pm, I grabbed a dress from my duffel bag, and we drove to Moscow for my high school reunion cocktail hour. By the time we arrived back at my farmhouse, it was dark. Next morning, we took our coffee on the patio and neither of us could relax after being gone for 2 ½ weeks, the place was a mess – weeds, mowing and general tidying up were needed. Rod looked at me after we had been spraying weeds with my 2 back-pack sprayers (in our bathrobes) and said “there is something inherently wrong with us, we can’t even enjoy coffee with seeing so much to do!”  And he was right – we jumped back into the grind of being worker bees in a Nanosecond, and I told him that was why we were so perfect for each other, two crazy peas in a pod.
And as I finally feel like my farmette is all prettied up and tidy after the 2 1/2 weeks of no maintenance, I do understand the value on realizing the importance of a work/life balance.  And to be truthful, it's a daily battle to keep that balance in check. And then I think of moments like this.....
Another reminder to look back at the day as the sun goes down and relish this gift of today
As always, thank you for stopping by.   I hope you have or will be taking some time to get away from your daily grind and if you want to share your vacation updates, feel free to post a recap on the blog or  email me at After all you endured my story!  Lol.  But seriously, please make time for you to recharge your batteries.  It’s all about life maintenance and taking care that you are running on all four cylinders.  Take care, all my best, Gayle 

P.S.  If you enjoy what I write, make sure to check out the Home and Harvest magazine that I write for. It is a growing regional magazine that I'm sure you will enjoy for it's wide variety of topics.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Idaho+Montana Family=A Good Crazy Time

Remember when your kiddos were two years old and if they were quiet that you knew they were probably getting into something or up to a bit of mischief?  Well it dawned on me that in my self-imposed vacation from social media  and blogging these last 3 weeks, that a lot of times when I’m quiet…. It means I’ve been up to something.  Lol 

Over the July 4th holiday, a few of us Idaho relatives invaded  the Montana relatives to enjoy our nation’s birthday camping at the family property under the big skies of my home state.
Oh my beautiful Montana

When we gather together, cousins, Russ, Todd, Sharmayne and myself usually put our warped minds together and think up some crazy antics.  Last year, Russ went on a solo mission when we were all together on a small cruise ship and he created the persona of “Father  Nelson” which was a realistic old man mask and decided to  make my mom his “love interest target” in front of all of us one afternoon.  His costume created quite a commotion as the boat crew thought someone had snuck on board.  Long story short,  we had many laughs over that….. and then this year Russ hatched the idea that “Father Nelson” would give up priesthood and morph into “Farmer Nelson”  and here is what that looked like.

A bit of a slow start on the video.... but keep watching - it's hilarious! 

For some reason, my mom is just so much fun to pick on and it just makes her a target for our good-natured antics.  Also, Rod got to witness us in true action of being crazy, and it didn’t scare him off. Now I’m thinking we get to plan a little fun event for the son of one of my other cousins who will be getting married next summer at the beautiful place where we camp. 

The rest of the long week-end was filled with food… lots and lots of it and visiting.  The Montana crew are story tellers and the hours quickly slip by listening to their adventures. 
A trip to the candy store in Phillipsburg,MT  Yummm!

Miss N and Mom
Aunty Lois and Mom
And while there, we couldn’t pass up a hunt for mining for sapphires.  So many enjoyable hours panning for colored stones.

Seriously addicting searching for sapphires

Gathering with family is one of life’s true blessings, or at least in this girl’s view. Before we’d left Idaho, we received news that a close family member was diagnosed with cancer.  A sobering reality and reminder that each day is a gift. And a couple days before we left for Montana, my Aunt Lois was hospitalized when the doctors thought she’d had a heart attack. Luckily it wasn’t, and with a revamp in her medicine and she was released in time to join us camping.  Those two health issues again were  a reminder to make sure you enjoy your time here on earth and in the company of your loved ones.
Jen and me at the sapphire mine
And on that note of enjoying time in the sun - Rod is really good about making sure I slow down to take time to play and after Montana we headed out for 2 weeks of puttering around the San Juan Islands…. more to share on that in the next blog post.  =)
At the start of our adventure

As always, thank you for taking time to stop by, and if you have a comment, question or thought please feel free to email me at or leave a comment on the blog. I always love hearing from you.  Lastly, I hope you are making time to slow down, savor summer by doing the things you enjoy and with those you love.  All my best, Gayle

Saturday, June 29, 2019

A Grumpy Start to a Splendid Adventure

I have a confession… I sometimes get grumpy when life doesn’t go as I planned it in my mind.  But I’ve been really working hard at what I preach….. living life and enjoying those small moments and impromptu  changes. Not easy for a planner like me to do and I have to confess I was inwardly being cranky about a family outing that wasn’t going according to the plan in my head. First with the date mix-up and  our Kellogg condo  getting rented out the week-end we had planned to stay and ride the Hiawatha Trail.(a 15 mile trip on an abandoned railroad  bed that has around 7 tunnels and a few trestles). Then followed by a change in the day we were going due to the grand-angels deciding to play at their softball tournament. Mentally I was just like, we should just cancel, thankfully I kept my mouth shut and my thoughts to myself.

On Saturday, daughter Jen, who helps coach the smaller kiddos softball team asked if I could help with the girls as all were playing, different fields, times etc. sort of being the gofer, get food, cheer on the older grand-angel while she was coaching the younger girls’ teams.  I said sure, no problem and spent all of Saturday watching softball, grabbing lunch for them and hugging on the girls.  Sitting close to the older girls’ teams, I loved how supportive they were of each other when up to bat. I’d hear them say, “you got this!”  or “you’re going to hit a home run so take it home!” … and other positive comments even when plays didn’t go as expected.  I thought we should all be more of a cheerleader in life, encouraging others to do their best. And I would have missed seeing this sweet exchange of a girl gang of pure supportiveness if I hadn’t agreed to hang out at the tournament all day.  Sometimes I am a dolt.

Then the morning of the bike ride… more delays.  First a quick trip to Quick care to diagnose if Zach, Rod’s 19 yoa son, had strep throat (he did) and the sweet young man rallied and went with us anyway.  Jen didn’t have a helmet… a quick trip to Target…next a call from the condo manager saying our guest had plugged the toilet, it had overflowed into the downstairs unit and so on. Ugh..I’m inwardly groaning at what more can happen?  But Rod in his ever-calm manner, called Roto Rooter, we headed to Kellogg to check in on the service tech – he had it under control –  the damage would get turned into the insurance company…so onto Hiawatha Trail it was!!   
A long dark tunnel, it was wet, muddy and wintry cold
Despite the unusually cold temps of the day and us being a bit under-dressed, we rode the trail and it was gorgeous. Along the way we, talked, laughed and kidded each other about fear of heights as we rode over breath taking bridges we had to cross. The girls threw rocks over the bridge, the boys jokingly said they wanted to pee over the bridge…. We left them in peace to do their guy thing and the day turned out splendid. We were tired, dirty and happy.
Me & the kiddos.... heights make me weak in the stomach, I had to sit down!

Jen & the girls - a great photo op

Zach & Jen - we're not scared of heights!

Rod & the girls.... a long way down

Us  =)
As I dropped off Jen and the kiddos at 10pm that night, an impromptu slumber party was requested, so I said yes! We grabbed pj’s and I  took the two youngest ones home with me.

The next day, I cleared my work calendar and stayed home with the kiddos.  That day, at their request, I taught them how to read recipes and bake. We picked cherries and strawberries from my garden, we made Spaghetti Pie for dinner to take back to their house  and I have to tell you, it was a pure grandma bliss.
An intent Miss M pitting cherries

Early morning strawberry picking

Miss N making cupcakes in an ice cream cone cups
Yummy perfecton
 Once again lessons learned when the plan inside your head doesn’t flow like you think it should and yet everything turns out as good or even better than the best laid plans.  It was a splendid adventure where small moments and simple pleasures of togetherness add one more layer in the memory bank of life.  Lesson learned…. =)

As always, thank you for stopping by. Feel free to leave me a comment or shoot me an email at, as I love to hear from you.  And if your plans run amok like they sometimes do, well I hope it turns into a grand adventure!  All my best, Gayle