More Seattle Area Scenery

As usual, I carry my camera with me all the time because you just never know when you will see something interesting. The Seattle area is very beautiful and different from what I have become used to in Panama, so I’ve enjoyed taking photos here.

Because of the time difference I still tend to wake up early some mornings.

Mornings are cold and frosty, and usually the frost persists all day in shady spots.

We went shopping on Black Friday! We only needed a few things for the baby so we went to Target, and then walked in the attached mall for a while. Everything was surprisingly chill and peaceful. It was afternoon so we were probably too late for the crowds.

On the way home we did a few errands, including a stop at the car wash. I know this is an ordinary activity but I thought the drive through car wash was a lot of fun.

I had been thinking about going biking with my son in law, but the previous day was so breezy and chilly that I changed my mind. This day was better, still chilly but without wind so we set off. I was bundled up in a thermal undershirt, over shirt, heavy sweat shirt, hat, gloves, hiking boots, etc but it was still plenty cold. It was really fun to be back on a bike though (but I have definitely gotten out of shape in the last month, so I have my work ahead of me when I get home!)

There is a rose bush in the yard that has a beautiful bud in spite of the chilly temperatures


Yesterday I thought about going biking but it was really cold again. We ended up going to Aubrey Davis Park on Mercer Island for a nice walk. It was chilly but there was lots of sun which helped, and it’s a really pretty area to visit.

We have mainly been hanging out with baby. She is now 16 days old and doing really well. We have also been getting out and about a bit more for errands and exercise which has been going very well. The baby tends to sleep the whole time. At home too, she rarely fusses. Sometimes she wants to stay up late but once she goes to bed she tends to sleep well, only waking up for eating and changing and then going back to sleep. Now that her parents have gotten some rest and settled into more of a routine, I think they believe that they are going to survive parenthood after all!

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Thanksgiving Nut Loaf

This would be a good vegetarian main dish for any occasion. It’s a bit of work to make but I think worth the effort. I found this recipe on the Martha Stewart site.


Put a cup of brown rice on to cook.

Then, roast 1 1/2 cups of walnuts and 1/2 cup of cashews on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes. Then these get chopped either by hand or in a food processor.

(The directions call for dried porcini mushrooms but we couldn’t find any. If you have them they need to be soaked. We used fresh shiitake and regular mushrooms and it seemed to come out just fine. A cup of chopped regular mushrooms would probably be OK too )

Saute a finely chopped yellow onion and two garlic cloves in butter. When they are translucent, add the chopped mushrooms and saute until cooked.

Mix the sauteed veggies, the rice, the chopped nuts, 12 ounces of gruyere cheese, grated (I think swiss would work as well if this isn’t available), 8 oz cottage cheese, 4 eggs, and the seasonings which are the following herbs, chopped – 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, 1 tbsp marjoram, 2 tsp thyme, 1 tsp sage, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 fresh ground pepper. I think dried herbs would also work and keep costs down a lot, but we sprung for the fresh ones.

Put all this in a large, buttered loaf pan and bake for an hour at 350. Let stand 20 minutes before serving. The recipe calls for lining a buttered pan with parchment paper and buttering again which we didn’t do because we didn’t have parchment paper. The outside got dark and crusty which wasn’t bad but it might cook more evenly with the paper, and would be easier to get out of the pan if you want to serve an intact loaf.

This was a flavorful and satisfying loaf. The nuts gave it enough crunch to make it interesting, and the cheese and eggs helped hold it all together. I would definitely make this again.

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Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes

We made a new recipe for sweet potatoes and I really liked. Who would have thought that roasted grapes and feta cheese would work so well!


I found this recipe on How Sweet It Is and it’s not that difficult to make. Start by baking four sweet potatoes until done.

Roast two cups of grapes by putting them on a baking sheet, drizzling on a bit of oil, some salt and pepper. and toss to coat. Roast at 450 for 20-25 minutes until they start to burst. They come out as warm, soft, sweet cooked fruit that is very good. They could be eaten just like this or added to a number of other recipes.

But, back to this recipe. Scoop out the cooked potato (this recipe calls for putting it back in the skin later, but it could also just be put in a casserole dish). Mix in 3 oz of feta cheese, a couple tablespoons of honey, a pinch (or more) of cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Check seasonings and adjust as needed. Put the potato back in the skins (or in a casserole dish), top with another ounce of feta cheese, the grapes, and a drizzle of honey. Return to the oven for a little while if it needs to be rewarmed, and serve.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, a day for family, food, and giving thanks. Goodness knows I have so much to be thankful for that I could write a book. I am here with family so it was a wonderful day. We made some really good food too, including a couple new recipes that are worth sharing. This is a vegetarian house so dinner may be a bit different, but no less yummy.


From the top, fresh fruit salad (apples, pears, mandarin oranges, and grapes), rolls, then on the left, nut loaf, and sweet potatoes. Then, below that, green been casserole, mixed roasted vegetables, and stuffing.

The green bean casserole was the traditional mushroom soup recipe but made with fresh green beans which I thought was especially good. I must share the recipes for the sweet potatoes and nut loaf in other posts, because I thought they came out really well.

Mixed roasted vegetables was carrots, potatoes, green beans, zucchini, celery, mushrooms, garlic cloves, and onions with olive oil, salt, and fresh herbs. The stuffing was pork flavor Stove Top, the only flavor we saw in the supermarket that didn’t have a meat product listed on the ingredients. (pork with no pork broth or meat product?) The glasses have pink champagne for that extra festive touch.

We had a good time putting this all together with some favorites, some remembered dishes, and some internet research. And, there are enough leftovers to enjoy for a few more meals.

Panamanians generally don’t celebrate Thanksgiving since it’s mainly a USA holiday (thought they are quite aware of it). I hadn’t even thought about Thanksgiving happening during my time in the USA but I’m glad it worked out. We had a really nice time.

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Seattle Area Scenery

This is a very pretty area and there are some spots of beautiful fall color. We have been out walking in the afternoon a few times which is a good opportunity for some pretty photographs.

A foggy morning made for some pretty scenery.

Then it cleared which made for more pretty scenery and lovely skies.

It’s chilly here at this time of year. Some days are rainy, but on a pretty, sunny day it can be quite pleasant in the afternoon. There has been frost the last few mornings though, so I don’t think I’ll be going out at sunup.


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Lets Make New Recipes!

I’m in the US with my daughter and husband and their brand new baby. I could post dozens of baby photos every day but tempting as that is,  I’ll try and mix it up a bit. My other main activities here are enjoying the scenery and fall colors, and helping out with meals. We definitely eat well in Panama but here I have access to some different things, and this is a vegetarian household so I get to experiment with different ideas.

Today I made open face sandwiches for and was very happy with how they turned out.


To make sandwiches for three or four people you will need –

  • Bread – sandwich rolls sliced lengthwise, or some nice hearty loaf sliced up, something that will toast up nicely with crunchy edges
  • mayonnaise to spread on the bread
  • 1/2 pound of feta cheese, crumbled
  • a thinly sliced tomato, or two if they are small
  • a few tablespoons of seasoned bread crumbs (optional)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 pound of mozzarella cheese, grated
  • lemon juice (from about 1/2 a lemon)
  • vegetables – I used a garlic clove, 1/4 red onion, 1/2 green pepper, a couple mushrooms, a zucchini, half a yellow squash, and a big handful of spinach

Turn the oven on to broil

Slice the vegetables thinly and saute in a bit of oil, starting with the garlic, onions, peppers, and mushrooms. When they are starting to look cooked, add the squash. When the squash is almost done add the spinach and saute until wilted. The idea is to get all the veggies to about the same level of lightly cooked at the same time.

While the veggies are cooking spread the mayo on the bread, and then sprinkle on the feta cheese. Toast in the broiler until the cheese is starting to melt and the edges of the bread are toasted. Remove from oven.

Slice the tomato(s) thinly and grate the mozzarella cheese.

Put the veggie mixture on the bread. Arrange the tomato slices on top, sprinkle with seasoned bread crumbs and lemon juice. Top with grated mozzarella. Return to the broiler until the cheese is melted and if you prefer, lightly browned.

Remove from broiler and enjoy!

I could easily make these in Panama too. We would have to hunt a bit for mushrooms and we don’t have spinach but everything else is readily available in the supermarket or vegetable stand. And, you can make it with any veggies you prefer and I’m sure it would be great with any number of combinations.

Bien provecho!

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The Newest Baby!

It’s been a very exciting time in our family with my older daughter’s baby girl, Marian Grace arriving on October 21st, and my younger daughter’s little girl Autumn Marie, born on November 13th, just a bit over three weeks later. I have been with the newest baby and family since shortly after they came home, and of course pointing my camera at them when opportunities present themselves.

It’s hard coming home with a new baby. They don’t let you sleep much in the hospital, and then you are home with a little newborn and an overwhelming job. I was glad I could get on a plane and get here quickly but in truth, they are doing fine. They mainly needed some sleep and reassurance that they were doing a good job.

Yesterday was baby’s first outing. She had her doctor checkup which she passed with flying colors, and then we went to the supermarket. It was feeding time at the doctor so after eating, the baby slept through the rest of the outing. Later in the day she spent awhile awake, alert, and calm and I had fun catching her various expressions with the camera.

Today, the baby is six days old. I can already see her changing. Mom and dad, of course, are feeling much better after getting some sleep between feeding and changing. There have been a couple nights when the baby didn’t want to settle down until very late but thankfully, mom and dad can sleep all morning if they need to. They are getting calmer and more confident by the day, and doing a great job. The baby is also settling into something of a routine at times. I also see her spending more time awake but calm and alert, and its so fun to see her just looking around, and exercising her hands and feet.

I’ll be here for a while more. They could manage just fine on their own but seem comforted that I am around, and it is a very special time for me so I’m very glad I can be here.

Meanwhile, my other daughter is spending her first week caring for the two kids with just herself and her husband, and they are doing very well. She was uneasy at first but I knew she would be fine, and indeed she is. All of these children are very lucky to have such good parents.

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The Children’s Museum

When I was in California, we went to the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County a couple times and had a great time. The place was overrun with adorable little kids having fun with the multitude of activities available. It’s a great option if you need something to do indoors, or want to arrange a play date.

Indoors is very pretty with colorful decorations and activities anywhere you look.

I started by walking around downstairs looking at the various activities.

In the back, downstairs, is the toddlers area. Shoes are not allowed and there is a height requirement. It’s a good place for the little ones to play without worrying about being overrun by any bigger kids.

There is just as much fun stuff to do upstairs, so don’t miss it!

We had a good time at the museum, and it was really fun to see all the kids enjoying themselves. One of the days was Veterans Day and school was out, so the museum was very well attended. There was a line out the door waiting to come in as we left. I’m glad Sonoma County has made this available to the community. It’s clearly being enjoyed by many.

I think I’m caught up on California news and pictures. My daughter and her husband are taking care of the kids on their own this week which I’m sure is challenging at times, but they are doing great and I have no doubt that they will be just fine.

Next up, news and pictures from Seattle and the newest baby!

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A Man with a Baby

A woman can’t help but get a warm feeling from seeing a man tenderly holding a baby. My husband and I were recently in California visiting my daughter and family and meeting their newest member, the little baby girl. Joel wanted a few pictures with her, so I have sorted through them and have a few ready to share.

She’s a beautiful little baby and we are so fortunate to have this new addition to our family.

I’ve been sorting through more photos of California, and taking more pictures of the newest baby in Seattle so stay tuned. More baby sweetness will be coming!

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Hola from Seattle


There is a pretty view of the fall colors from the back door.

As you can see from the photo, I’m still in the US. I haven’t been writing much though. Life has been a bit topsy turvy the last couple weeks. I first went to California to help my older daughter’s family and new baby, and planned to leave there on the 17th. My younger daughter’s baby, however, decided not to wait until due date and came a week early so plans changed and I went to Seattle early.

For some reason, hospitals don’t seem to want new parents to get any sleep (according to both of my daughters). This new mom was up all Thursday night in labor. The next night she was still in the hospital but she said there was a constant stream of people in and out all night doing something for either her or the baby, which usually left her with an upset and crying baby. By the time they got home on Saturday afternoon she and her husband were both beyond exhausted, and the baby was also upset and fussy. Thankfully there was room on the evening plane so it was easy for me to just come on up here.


outside the front door

They are doing great with the baby! They just needed reassurance and some sleep. The baby has been sleeping 3-4 hours at a time during the night so they are catching up on their sleep a bit and feeling a lot better. The baby is also doing well and though she has a very strong set of lungs, she hasn’t been using them to cry very much.


So, I am using this post just to check in and to share a few photos. It’s cold and rainy here, in the 40’s, so I haven’t set foot outside the door since I arrived. They are in a pretty area though as you can see from these photos, all of which are views from the house.

I have baby photos, of course, and various things I want to share so these will be coming as I get time to sort through things. And, I will be here a while so we will be getting out and about later on. Right now though most of the time is spent supporting the new parents, cuddling the baby, and even watching a bit of TV. (they have cable! :D) Both of my daughters are doing great with their new babies and I couldn’t be more proud of them.

When there is a bit of sun, I love how it shines through this tree.

When there is a bit of sun, I love how it shines through this tree.

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