Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom

Happy Birthday, Mom. Again, it is a weird kind of birthday. You didn't really get to turn a year older. You will forever be 51 - just six weeks shy of 52.

Trying not to be sad. Trying not to miss you too much or be jealous of others with their Moms. Trying not to be angry about all the things that are different about this world without you in it. I don't think I ever understood how caring, supportive and giving you were to me and our whole family until I've seen life without you.

Your life and death has taught me so much about living. Thank you. Thanks for never giving up the fight against ALS. Thanks for not choosing to end my life when you got pregnant at 18 years old. Thanks for loving me in a way only a Mom can. Thanks for never giving up on me. Thanks for always being my Mom. Happy Birthday.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wild Iris Inn Cookies

I didn't know that I'd ever come across a recipe that could cause me to stray from my Courtney Cookies. I haven't baked cookies in quite a while. However, we have new neighbors and it is something I like to do to welcome folks into our community. I may have to try these ones out - and quickly give them away before we scarf them all up. These are different than my fav cookie recipe - this is a cookie with a LOT in every bite. Many ingredients that just keep you going, mmmm, what is that?, yummmmm...

We just stayed at the Wild Iris Inn in LaConner. These babies were left for us in our room each day. By the second day, we were actually looking forward to them. Thanks to innkeeper, Lori, for sharing the recipe!


Blend until creamy:
2 c butter, melted
2 c brown sugar
2 c sugar

4 eggs
2 t vanilla
3 t water

Beat until well mixed.
In another bill mix together:

4 c flour
2 t baking powder
2 t salt
2 t baking soda

Then add:

2 c white chocolate chips
2 c semisweet chocolate chips
3 c coconut
3 c dried cranberries
2 c chopped walnuts
2 c old-fashioned oats
3 c granola (any or recipe that follows)

Mix wet and dry ingredients together until blended. When well mixed, shape into balls and bake on an un-greased parchment paper lined cookie sheet at 300-325 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until just turning brown around the edges. Then, prepare to be in heaven - ENJOY!


24 c (1 bag) of oatmeal
4 c chopped almonds
3 c shredded coconut
1 c sesame seeds
1 c sunflower seeds
2 c canola oil
2 c honey
Hazelnut syrup

Mix everything together (except hazelnut syrup). Spread on two large pans lined with parchment paper. Bake 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Stir mixture. Bake approximately another 10 minutes. Spray mixture with hazelnut syrup spray (bottled latte syrup - put dispenser pump in bottle and spray granola, mix) - bake five more minutes. Let cool and store in airtight container.

ALS Doubleday Weekend - Part One

Headed up Friday to La Conner, WA. As I've been sharing, this was the weekend of the ALS Doubleday bike ride. Thank you to our following sponsors: Jonnita, Melissa, Molli, John & Susan, Bruce & Mary-Margaret, Jody, Allison and Shaun. Together, we raised $565 toward the fight against ALS and toward supporting Northwest ALS patients and families. We so appreciate the financial support. Wow, we more than doubled our goal. Thank you so much!

It was a little daunting being a team of "one" when we saw all the other large groups. But, that's OK - we have a whole year to recruit riders. Plus, we already recruited one! We met a gal named Jessica who already agreed to ride for Mom next year with "Kathy's Crew". Thanks, Jessica!!

It also meant a lot to us that Fred and Francie came up to Mt. Vernon to be there for the event. In addition, we got text messages and e-mails with support. It means so much to both of us. This was a really big deal both because it was for Mom and because this was a very physically and mentally challenging event for Bill. I KNOW Mom was there. She was watching so proudly.

More to come on the event... Lots of laundry and relaxing to do tonight. In the meantime... Our first day in Mt. Vernon, we checked into the
Wild Iris Inn. We both adored the place. Bill was not so hip at first when I booked the reservations. He was a little worried it'd be like staying at Grandma's and sharing a bathroom. Far from it. As the innkeeper told us, it is just an inn that happens to serve breakfast.

Our room was nice and cool with fresh flowers and the most incredible freshly baked cookies. Yes, I even got the recipe!

First, we relaxed a bit.
Then, we walked into downtown La Conner. It was so beautiful, quiet and quaint.
I had to snap a photo of the La Conner liquor store for Sue. Just what I do.
We had dinner at
Seeds Bistro. It was absolutely incredible. Loved it. Then, we relaxed and watched a movie in preparation for Bill's big day. More to come.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Diners, Drive-Ins and Alyson

Had a quick, but fun visit from Alyson and two college gals - Julia and Kirsten. The three were traveling up from Sacramento to a month at YoungLife Malibu camp in Canada. It was a great visit with a definite "Food Network" theme. Turns out, Alyson and Bill have something in common. They love Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. Al and the girls stopped at Voo Doo in Portland for some interesting doughnuts. Check out the maple bar with bacon!!

The next morning we went to another diner visited by Guy: Southern Kitchen. I'd always heard about it, but it was my first time.

Here we go. Here are some of the southern treats we had... sweet tea. (This stuff is an embarassing addiction of mine this summer - I really need treatment).

Next. Brace yourself. I don't even normally like fried chicken, but this... This was incredible! This plate fed Alyson, me and a large plate to bring home for Bill to try. It was dangerously good. The stuffing was my favorite and Al liked the hush puppies best. I need to fast for a week to make up for these meals!

Next, I really should have taken a picture of Kirsten's breakfast. She had peanut butter crunch for breakfast at home that morning. At the restaurant, she had apple juice and a quarter's worth of Skittles from the machine.
We'll move on to Julia's choice. Check out that biscuits and gravy. This is a favorite of Bill's. He would have been in heaven! She gave it a double thumbs up!

After we stuffed ourselves with glorious, calorie-laden goodness, we ran some errands and rested that afternoon. Alyson took a little nappie. I couldn't help, but taunt her with a garlic head under her nose (she does not like garlic!).
Bob and Marcie joined us that evening for a backyard rib BBQ. We had vegan salad for Marcie, non-garlic options for Alyson and a hamburger for Kirsten who doesn't care for ribs. We like to please our customers!

Bill and Kirsten stayed inside in the air conditioning after dinner chatting about fastpitch and watching Whale Wars.

Did I mention this girl can solve a Rubix cube in less than a minute. She was fast!!

It seemed as soon as they got here... It was already time to go!
Have a great MONTH at camp, ladies. See you on the way back!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Fourth!

We had a fairly quiet Fourth of July. Friday night I went to the South Sound Mall fireworks as I have almost every third of July that I can remember. Since I met Bill, I always go with Francie. We have our place we park and sit every year. Jody often works during the holiday weekend, but this year she was off and joined us.

Another tradition for me is the Fourth of July parade the following morning. My friend Anna lives near the parade route and always saves me a spot plus whatever guests are joining me that year. We figure we've done this together about ten years. It's a nice small-town parade and is always a great kick-off for summer.

Bill and I relaxed at home that afternoon and went out to dinner that evening. Annie normally really hates the fireworks, but her declining hearing benefited her this year. This was Libby's first Fourth and she was a little fidgety. I worried about leaving her in her kennel when we went to bed. I pictured her in the bonus room with the room lighting up with fireworks and shaking with loud booms and her really getting upset. We let her sleep in our room and she was quite proud of herself - under the bed where she felt safe!

Bill is off for over a week and has a list of projects - golfing with his Dad, getting in miles on his bike, going to the dump, taking Libby on trips to Lowe's and painting the garage! Wow. He started today - first all the cars had to be moved.

Then everything in the garage had to be pulled away from the walls.

And then the painting. We knew once he tackled this project we'd finally discover what was making our garage smell so foul the last month or so. Shortly after I snapped this photo I found one culprit - a dead mouse behind the fridge Bill is painting in front of. Yuck.

He will paint the second half later this week. To be continued - whether the ceiling or floors will get painted this time around. That might have to wait for another summer.


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