Umm, well…expecting grandgoslings that is.

The Geese have Landed

Winter has come and gone and our resident pair of Canada Geese have finally returned. We’ve come to realize that this is a true gift from God (one that money can’t buy), as this year, she has made her nest a mere 20 feet from our living room window.  Our family and guests get the awesome privilege of watching this returning goose “up close and personal” for the next 28 days as she patiently sits on what appears to be 5 eggs (actual number may vary as the eggs were counted from the tower deck during her 15 minute daily feeding break). Meanwhile, her mate patrols the grounds claiming his territory and defending her and their soon-to-be babies from any threat. We are thoroughly enjoying watching the daily routine of these lifemates.

She’s baaaack!

Here’s a quick recap of some winter highlights before we completely move into Spring:

Sips and a Snowman… 2 bits!

Here for her second visit to Talus Rock Retreat, Guest Tanya Mack and I gleam happily amidst the remnants of a fast and furious snowfall followed by an even quicker melt. It seemed like a January  Spring here in North Idaho. The Mack and D’Eloia families get full credit for making the snowman (one family began it and the other family finished it.) This was a true build – no tractors or blades were involved in the making of it and, considering the size of the snowballs, that’s quite a feat!

Spring Snowman!

Sips and Nibbles

Speaking of melt, oh how we savored the melt-in-mouth nibbles enjoyed during our New Year’s celebration that included all family and Talus Rock Retreat guests. Tanya Mack’s friend and lodging guest, Anne D’Eloia, Account Executive for television Food Network and the Cooking Channel, are pictured below with Talus Rock friend, Elizabeth.  Anne whipped up a “Sips and Nibbles” Night.

Foodies were frothing over the lamb sliders with Tzaziki,  divine pork tenderloins with fennel and lemon, fabulous seafood  fettucine with a deep yellow alfredo sauce, and rich tornadoes of beef with horseradish.   We sat around a camp fire then stomped out to the far meadow where Bruce (a trained volunteer firefighter for Westside Fire District)  lit a beacon-of-bright-light bonfire to bid the old year farewell and guide in the New Year.  Champagne and wine flowed until late, accompanied by sumptuous chocolate-dipped strawberries.  Oh, what a night!

Anne De’Eoia from the Food Network and Cooking Channel whips up a few delights with help of Elizabeth

Selkirk’s Six-Wheeler Slowly Sinks

Ah, the disconnected brains of 14-year-olds never cease to amaze us. Believing that his amphibious ”duck” (as we call it, since it’s a 6-wheeler that operates on both land and water) was supposed to float,  our son Selkirk and his buddy, Lane Rasmussen, decided to try it on thin ice. This is when two half brains don’t make a whole!  Too late in determining that a few of vital boat plugs were missing, they were fortunately able to get the sinking machine to dry land before finding themselves in icy water. It’s a good thing this pond is only 4 feet deep! Loose plugs sink ships, boys!



NOT Gone! (Way to keep your wits about you, Selkirk! Persistence is key!)

Kids Creating Comfort Food in the Kitchen 

We all know that winter brings the nesting desire to make delicious baked desserts in the kitchen with rounds of hot chocolate while the snow falls and the fire crackles.  Daughter Rio, her cousin (Darby Pierce), and 2 girlfriends (Aubrey Perry and Michelle Rockwell) spied a delicious Pinterest recipe called “Apple Pie in an Apple”. The name says it all:  Four oversized tart apples were stuffed with cinnamon and sugar diced apple bits, then topped with a home-made draped lattice crust. Of course, leftovers were scarce, and I could only dream of what they might have tasted like as girls and guests took priority of the spoils. But, alas, sometimes it’s apple pie and sometimes it’s dirty baking pans when it comes to being the mother of a teenager.

Rio Rolls

Dessert is served!

Skijoring Fun!

Never a dull moment as childhood (and unplugging parents) peeled our kids away from screens and video games and forced them outside. Building ski jumps and skijoring around the arena, using both a horse and an ATV (on different occasions of course), made for both a great show from Talus Rock Retreat windows and an exhilarating all-afternoon winter activity.

No Ipod, no TV, no cell phone. Pure outdoor fun!

Rio’s Buttons for Bangkok

Our 17-year-old son, Kipling, and I will be leaving in early May for a 35 day trip to India, Thailand and the Philippines while Bruce and Stephanie hold down the Talus Rock Retreat fort. On behalf of International Children’s Network, we will be updating sponsorship, visiting orphanage directors, considering new partnerships, working with country-specific Embassies, and auditioning orphans and at-risk kids for the 2012/13 Matsiko World Orphan Tour. I will be heading back to these countries again in mid-September; Rio is determined to accompany me during that time. In an effort to save for this adventure, she has made these fabulous button bracelets to sell at $10 each (or 5 for $35). Guests seem to love them and Rio is well on her way to raising the $3,000 nut…only 286 more bracelets to sell! Button up, Rio! Let’s go!

Rio’s Buttons for Bangkok

If you are interested in supporting Rio’s efforts and would like to ”buy a button bracelet and be a bridge to a better beginning’” (reads her tongue twisting tagline), please email her at Of course, she also is in need of a few hundred 4-hole buttons, so if you have a bag ‘o buttons needing a good purpose, please send it to Rio c/o Talus Rock Retreat, 291 Syringa Heights Road, Sandpoint, ID 83854!

If anyone would like to join us on this fabulous ICN mission trip in September (which may include Nepal in addition to India, Thailand and the Philippines) to  help escort the chosen 24 orphans to the United States, please contact me at