surprise! sorry if I misled you…

enjoying a gorgeous day in wine country!

So, I may have implied that we’d be heading straight to our potential new home in South Bend, Washington, once we left Boise, but in actuality, we took a small detour from Idaho through Oregon and Nevada to Healdsburg, California, so we could surprise Momma Schutz in wine country for her 80th birthday extravaganza. Please don’t be offended; I had to be sly because she reads the blog! Anyhow, what a fantastic weekend! But more about that later…
Last Sunday we had such a fabulous time with our wonderful San Diego friends, Kevin and Sylvia, in Eagle, Montana! First, we attended a great service at Eagle Christian Church, where we met Sylvia’s high school friends, Sharon and Donna. After a nice breakfast at Le Peep, Kevin and Sylvia spent the rest of the day at our “house” catching up (while watching the Padres lose their final game with the Phillies).

Monday was a “business day” – it was time for new tires and an alignment on the Honda.
Then, after two brief one-night stops, we arrived Thursday afternoon in Healdsburg, got set up at our RV park, and spent a bit of time exploring the park and the nearby Foresthill Bridge and scenic drive. Meanwhile, Deron’s mom, Diana, had arrived in San Carlos from Italy, to spend a month with Deron’s sister, Stephanie. On Friday, Stephanie brought Diana to a rental house in Healdsburg on the pretense of spending a low-key birthday weekend eating good food and tasting good wine – and then we showed up and surprised the heck out of Diana. About an hour later, Stephanie’s husband, Greg, arrived, with Danielle and Fernando in tow (Diana’s grandkids). She was so surprised the second time, she said she thought she might have a heart attack! Thankfully, she quickly recovered from the shock of seeing all of us, and we had great fun catching up. That night we enjoyed an amazing dinner at Valette – the chef’s tasting menu was absolutely fabulous.

The next day Stephanie pulled off one last surprise – one of Diana’s sisters and three of her nieces and their spouses joined us for lunch at Lo & Behold Bar and Kitchen, followed by a special cake from Oliver’s Market. The look on Diana’s face when she arrived was so priceless! Lunch was delicious, and everyone had a wonderful time celebrating Diana. After saying goodbye to the extended family, the rest of us spent the evening playing trivia games, watching baseball and eventually eating again – this time delicious homemade fare that I neglected to take pics of: a charcuterie tray (including some Italian goodies supplied by Diana) accompanied by beef tenderloin carpaccio and a fall salad.

This morning Deron and I got Diana all to ourselves for a bit; she treated us to a yummy breakfast at Zini’s Diner, and then we enjoyed the gorgeous weather tasting delicious wines on the beautiful grounds of Ferrari-Carano Winery. Afterwards Diana came and took the grand tour of our coach, and then we met Stephanie at Francis Ford Coppola Winery to view the grounds and movie relics there before they all had to head back to San Carlos.

Obviously with all the celebrating going on I did not have time until this evening to write this blog post. Now that the rest of the family is gone, Deron and I are relaxing here in Healdsburg for one more day, and then we really will head up to South Bend.
Hey! Moral of this week: whenever you have a chance to spend time with family, do it! The memories are rich and wonderful, and so worth it!

for the foodies…

restaurant fare


• fresh rolls with black salt butter
• sashimi grade Hawaiian ahi poke style with crispy nori
• Sonoma county organic salad
• pasta with cheese and shallots
• house smoked salmon with Coke Farms yellow wax beans and crispy capers
• charred prime New York steak with mushrooms, smoked brisket ‘hash,’ charred spring onion, green garlic chimichurri
• foie gras with toasted focaccia
• cheese plate
• “cookies n’ cream”: cocoa ‘truffle’ with whipped crème fraiche and Volo chocolate shortbread
• ItsNotA ‘Snickers bar’ deux: cocoa tuile, peanut powder, dark chocolate and sea salt ganache

Lo & Behold Bar and Kitchen

• crab Rangoon dip with crispy won tons, sweet and sour, and scallions
• scallop and apple crudo
• cucumber plate with curry vinaigrette, tomatoes, feta and red onion
• crispy egg rolls with black mushrooms, hot mustard and truffle sauce
• housemade noodles with kimchi butter, black vinegar, sesame, water chestnuts, egg
• confit beef brisket tacos with chile negra, white beans, asada onions, consommé
• “almost famous” chicken tenders with L&B ranch and mason’s pickles
• “slightly different fries” with harissa, preserved lemon aioli, cilantro

Oliver’s Market

• German chocolate cake

praise & prayer

We made it smoothly over Donner Pass with no snow or rain in sight, but we still have to travel up and over mountains near Mount Shasta, so please continue to pray for a safe journey.

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