Glamping at the Gorge

We snuck off! Kidless! Just the two of us!

Photo Jul 11, 8 08 18 AM I adorned my stoop with my new rug, shook out my checkered tablecloth for the picnic table, hung some lace and ribbons, and hubby and I officially took our Tabitha glamping at The Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington.

Photo Jul 12, 10 55 26 AM The Gorge hosts a spectacular concert and sunset too!

Photo Jul 11, 8 42 18 PM We had a wonderful time and can’t wait to take our Tabitha out with the whole family in a few weeks,

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Love that sunset view! Sounds like a great time and a beautiful summer evening.

  2. CJ Armstrong says:

    Good for you two! Love the rug . . . pretty good looking feet too! 😀

  3. Bonnie ellis says:

    Every couple should have time alone together Meg. Good for both of you. Darling little rig.

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Piles of Books

Piles of books. I have them all around. Some are mine, some are my hubby’s, some are for the girls, some I want to pass on to friends and family, and some I keep in my collection because I have plans to get to them soon. They give me a sense of anticipation, all those stories waiting to be told, all those new characters waiting to be met.

Photo Jul 15, 8 01 06 AM

Almost every reader I know has at least one pile of books that stares at them, and it appears that these staring piles of books are a “thing” shared round the world. In fact, the Japanese have a word for it. Tsundoku is a noun that describes a pile of unread books, or refers to a person who buys books and doesn’t read them, and then lets them pile up on the floor and shelves. It is believed that the word entered the Japanese language in the late 1800s as a pun. The story goes that the original word, tsunde oku, meaning to let something pile up, got swapped out for tsunde doku, which literally means reading pile. The two words were eventually combined and shortened to make them easier to pronounce.

While my piles of books have all been boxed up while we get ready to move from one home to the next, I left out the reading pile … Just in case I have a moment with a cup of tea and a new book.

  1. Cindi says:

    I have piles of books to be read in at least three rooms and what I laughingly refer to as my book reading queue right next to the bed… make that plural ~ queues. There is one on each side of the bed. Also guilty of buying books and not reading them, though the intention is there. There is just something about books. I could never work in a bookstore. For one thing, my entire paycheck would be spent there; the other thing, work would never get done. You would always find me in the back opening the boxes of newly arrived books, rubbing the shiny covers while admiring each and every one. Yeah. I’m weird. 🙂

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    In the recent years, I have tried to have a new policy that I don’t get beyond 3 unread books in my pile. This way, when I see a new one, I have to ask myself if I really want it or can it wait until I finish my unread pile staring at me. There is something nagging about a stack of unread books and I have found that if the pile gets beyond 3, I am less likely to get started reading. It is as if the larger the stack, the more hopeless it seems that I can get them read. So I end up making the excuse “no time today” and the stack doesn’t dwindle. I am forced to ask myself why I have the book in the first place if I am not going to read it. The three book policy, I have found, has resulted in many new books being read and enjoyed instead of staring back at me as if to point a finger that says, go ahead read one of us! Does anyone else have to limit their stack of unread books in order to get any of them read? Or am I just weird?

    • Megan says:

      As I was reading your response, I thought to myself that limiting my pile is great idea. I’m in full support of this idea!

  3. Eileen Stone says:

    Oh, I know why I have all those books! I love them for their stories, their artwork, their smell! I love the way they look on shelves, in piles, & alone. I would have to live to be 200 years old to read them all, but I don’t care! I will read @ my leisure and leave the rest for someone else to enjoy. I DO NOT own a “Kindle” or other reading device. The electronic reading devices lack the wonderful tactility of a real book and they never run out of power!

  4. Next to my bed I have a pile of cook books!!! 🙂 Then on the coffee table my pile of library books. Upstairs in my craft room my pile of sewing/crafting books! And on… and on…. and on! Oh how I love books! (And the ones in your pile above? I’ve read three of them! I loved Three Cups Of Tea.)

    – Dori –

  5. Man Oh Man, thats me ! I am addicted to library book sales, and also book shops, so my piles are huge, ok not piles, most are neatly put on the shelves that line my entire living room,(my idea of heaven -a whole room of bookshelves.) I have the summer reading shelf but alas, I am getting to 15 years of boxes of magazines ( yep my entire bedroom floor is taken up with copier paper boxes of old gardening mags and such.) I promised to whittle it down, ( it would be nice to walk in the bedroom ) so that has been my summer reading project. Been having fun tho, and cutting out many, many clippings. So Meg , be sure warn your mom more clippings will be coming to her.
    Oh yeah and like you Dori, ” three cups of tea” is on my to do list, and I dont even have copy of that one. Oh and there is another box of duplicates of favorite books for gifts.

  6. Nancy Coughlin says:

    I have piles all over the house and would never consider cutting back! Gives me the shudders to just even think about doing that. It is amazing how often a book I already have is essential to a discussion; as a loaner to a friend who hasn’t been able to find it;as a reference;etc. I believe growing up with books is essential for kids. So many books and not enough time to read them– maybe!!

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Present Perfect

I love it when my girls spend time with the elderly nuns who live in a nearby convent. I’ve found myself loving the interaction and wished it happened more often.

sweet hands via

So when I learned of an assisted living facility in Seattle that also houses a preschool within its walls, I had no doubt that it was an excellent idea. The 400+ residents of Providence Mount St. Vincent assisted-living center interact on a daily basis with the children, age birth through 5, who attend The Intergenerational Learning Center. The broad purpose of the ILC is to help children learn about the elderly, specifically naturalizing the aging process, accepting people with disabilities, reducing their fear of older adults, and just relishing the plain old joy of receiving unconditional love and attention.

reading a book via

It’s a total win-win situation, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Check out what filmmaker Evan Briggs has put together at Briggs hopes that her beautiful film will spark more discussion about how to expand the model further. The film’s title, “Present Perfect,” refers to the fact that while these two groups of people have no future or past in common, their relationships emerge and exist entirely in the present and are absolutely beautiful.

doing a puzzle via


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Such a beautiful program where everyone benefits. Young children are open to older folks in ways that older children are not. It is heart warming to see these photos of the children and older people enjoying each other’s company.

  2. I love to think about what the young and the old can bring to each other. My mother in law, who had Alzheimers, lived with us for five years when my children were very young. People used to actually comment to me that it was probably traumatic for our kids. I was so shocked because honestly our kids LOVED IT. Gramma would sit and watch them play all day long. They would put on skits for her and she was the best audience ever. She read to them until she was no longer able to read and then they read to her. They played checkers with her and loved that there were no rules because she couldn’t remember them. Today, they are grown and married with children of their own, and some of their best childhood memories are when Gramma lived with us and we took care of her. I wouldn’t take back those years for anything.

    – Dori –

    • Megan says:

      I agree, those years spent together can’t be traded for anything. I am beyond thankful that I had them in my childhood too.

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Mia’s Zucchini

Maybe you didn’t expect to see this post include pics from our local pool and water park. The title of this post doesn’t really fit, does it?

Except Mia is certain that their swimsuits are not actually tankinis or bikinis because both of those terms sound weird to her. She is sure they are actually zucchinis! Either way, both girls are over the moon that they are officially tall enough for the big slides at our local watering hole this year. Our state-of-the-art Aquatics Center was made possible by a local man who left $7 million dollars in his will “to the youth of Moscow.”

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Hahahaha! I love zucchinis for tankinis. Now that is clever. I wonder what the fashion industry would think? Your photo of the girls reminds me of the first time our girls were big enough and water safe enough to enjoy the water slide park. Their Dad was brave enough to go with them to the big ones while I volunteered to be at the bottom for welcoming. Hmmm, did I mention I don’t do those things like roller coasters, ferris wheels and other crazy rides? Yep, big chicken here! But my girls loved those things and the water rides were all the more fun. Thank heaven for Dads to do the big high ones with the girls!!

  2. Karlyne says:

    I haven’t been to Moscow since this was built, and it looks amazing! Just one more reason for a road trip, I guess…

  3. Um, shouldn’t this be posted on Gleaming Word of the Week? heehee

  4. Cindi says:

    That is the greatest picture EVER!!! I’m gonna get me one of those zucchinis ~ and one of whatever those things are called that they are riding on.

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Jordan and Kyle’s Wedding

The first time we met Jordan, she was a senior on the girls’ basketball team that my hubby, Lucas, was coaching (they won state that year). Then she nannied for us and traveled to Toronto, Chicago, and Honolulu with us. She also worked in our brick-and-mortar store during her years in college. But she’s officially all grown up now!

Jordan with three of her flower girls on the eve of her wedding day.

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    What a special wedding you got to enjoy with a young woman whom you had the privilege of watching grow up. All the love, fun , and years of intertwined lives wrapped up into Jordan and Kyle’s day!!

  2. CJ Armstrong says:

    I believe Robin and I met Jordan at the CDA store two years ago . . . what a charming young lady.
    Give her my CONGRATULATIONS, please if you would!

  3. terry steinmetz says:

    How special for all of you!

  4. Oh, that is so beautiful. She sounds like a lovely young lady and how special that your family had the privilege of holding such a special place in her day.

    – Dori –

    P.S. I love your daughter’s little farmgirl boots! 🙂

  5. Megan says:

    Thank you all. We had such a wonderful time! And we are SO happy for the Mrs. and Mr. 🙂

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Behind the Scenes

We’re working on Mom’s new bread book. Can’t wait to share more details, but in the meantime, here’s a little behind the scenes …

A professional photo shoot at MaryJanesFarm. Haha! Karina was shooting the girls making biscuits and of course making a mess with the flour. We were shooting under one of our wall-tent canopies, and there was a small hole in the canvas that was making a large sun spot on the girls’ hands. So, using my professional skills, I grabbed a broom and used it to block the sun. And that’s how the pros do it.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Mom’s new Bread Book you say???? Whoop!! Can’t WAIT for this wonderful surprise to be here. Ahhh, a hundred little easy ways to use BudgetMix and so much more, I am sure. Time to crank out the homemade butter churner and recipes from the Cow Book and combine them with what will be wonderful recipes of bread to enjoy. Farmgirl Fresh is about to get a new infusion of inspiration and I am very excited to welcome this new book to my shelf of MJF books!!

  2. Stephanie Guevara says:

    I can’t wait for the bread book either! This is exciting news.

  3. CJ Armstrong says:

    Mary Jane had told me she was working on a new bread book and I’m looking forward to it so much!

  4. Chrissy says:

    Umm, fresh warm bread slathered with fresh butter…

  5. Connie-Killarney says:

    How exciting!!

  6. Karlyne says:

    Skills! That’s what you’ve got!

  7. Can’t WAIT for the book! So fun and exciting!

    – Dori –

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Shopping Local

We are lucky to have a good selection of little stores in our sweet small town. We also have an amazing, independently-owned building supply store. Moscow Building Supply has a great selection of home goods and plants, as well as hardware, and I’ve always thought that the best thing about MBS is their customer service. There’s always someone there to assist me with any questions I may have, and they’ve even been known to help me with a few brainstorming sessions on how to best tackle a project. That kind of service is one-of-a-kind!

Our small town also has an annual art walk, where the local businesses display local artists’ works and we close down Main Street to traffic and open it up to folks actively working on their art … spray painting, glass blowing, metal working, etc. This year, MBS had their own huge art booth. Their crew had cut about a billion pieces of wood and set up stations with instructors to help kids build and paint their own airplanes.

Photo Jun 12, 7 08 45 PM (2)

The kids loved it! There was a long line, with each kid patiently waiting to build their own plane. Did I mention, completely free of charge?!? This kind of service is so far above and beyond, and I can’t express how cool it was that they had put it together for our kids.

Photo Jun 12, 6 38 53 PM (1)

The kids worked on their hammering, sanding, screwing, and painting skills. We were probably there for over an hour, with the MBS crew guiding my kids through each step.

Photo Jun 12, 6 42 28 PM (2)

So, here’s my huge shout-out to MBS and my own gentle reminder to support my local businesses because they support me. Both girls have their airplanes proudly displayed at our house, and I see them being a permanent part of our décor for years to come. Thanks, MBS!

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    What a fantastic community event! I love the creative idea of building one’s own airplane too. From the photos shared, the kids enjoyed every moment and your girls did a great job building their own. Wouldn’t it be fun it real planes were painted fun colors like their planes? I especially love the stripe colored wings of Stella’s edition. Your MBS sounds like a true pillar of the businesses in Moscow and a great example of why shopping local is so important!

  2. Cindi says:

    I want to do that!!! I’m not very tall ~ do you think I could pass for a kid? What a wonderful community event that is. It’s all about the neighbors. Such a refreshing change of focus from retail opportunity to service opportunity. Nice people, those folks at MBS

  3. Kim says:

    I love this! Your girls are growing up so fast! Beautiful!

  4. Bonnie ellis says:

    Megan, your girls are so adorable. I just love news about them. Thanks

  5. Nancy Coughlin says:

    So heartwarming when community comes together and gets it right! Frustrating when folks just don’t get it. How can “Buy Locally” not be understood as a positive and a necessary thing? I have to admit I want to shake people when they say, “It really doesn’t matter. What can one person do that matters?” They miss the point that all the ‘ones’ together are a moving force that can not be denied.

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Beautiful Day at the Farm

A busy day at the farm leaves dirt under our nails and unmentionables in the treads of our boots, but also leaves us with content, smiling faces as we crawl into bed after our fun-filled days. We spent the day checking on our gardens we planted.

Photo Jun 11, 3 03 38 PM

Our beans are getting bigger.

Photo Jun 11, 3 58 07 PM

And the cherries are getting ripe.

Photo Jun 11, 4 12 34 PM

Ester Lily is growing fast, too, just like us!

  1. Cindi says:

    I love these pictures ~ being there watching all of that growing has to be twice as good! The self-confidence being built in your girls really, really shows. You might cut back on watering them just a pinch though – so they don’t grow so fast!!!!! 🙂

    • Megan says:

      Oh Cindi, if only I could slow how quickly they are growing up! Stella picked up a pair of her flip flops yesterday and exclaimed, look how big my flip flops are Mom! Oh, I know, I know. Too fast!! 🙂

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Stella and Mia are growing into talented and skilled Young Cultivators! They look so cute with their smiles too.

  3. Bonnie Ellis says:

    Those girls are absolutely beautiful and I love the pictures you take of them. They are becoming top notch farmgirls. Good job Mary Jane and Meg.

  4. Nancy Coughlin says:

    Beautiful photos of beautiful young girls who are growing in the positivity that surrounds them! Great job Meg and Mary Jane.

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