February 17th 2020

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Terry's tales from Willowbrook Manor

Sweet Valentine ~

My intention was to send out a valentine to everyone on Valentines Day, but there seemed to be too much going on, and it just didn't happen.  I'm actually kind of glad I waited so I could wish you a happy President's Day instead when everything calmed down a bit.   It means that I can share the sweet things that happened at Willowbrook over the Valentine weekend 

The End of an Era ~

For those of you who read the last issue of The Willowbrook Word, you may remember my Valentine tradition where I go into my kids' classrooms, pass out treats and plant a big smooch on the kids' cheeks.  I've been doing it since my oldest was in high school. (He turned 30 last year!)  With Jens being a senior, I thought I would be nostalgic and maybe get choked up when I went in to the school for the last Valentine kiss.  But that sentiment faded when I forgot the treat basket at home and had to purchase another one at the drug store, Then, as I was signing in to the school, I checked my purse and realized my bright red lipstick wasn't where I put it (probably fell out when I was wrestling to get the bags of goodies open and pouring into the newly purchased basket).  I looked at the clock, did the math and figured I had just enough time to go back to the drug store to get yet ANOTHER  stick of lipstick before the class got over.  By the time I hustled to the drugstore, grabbed the  lipstick, hustled back to the school and walked into the classroom, all of the nostalgia in me was gone. Jens was surprised with my visit and it was a fun little presentation. He wore the kisses on his cheek for the rest of the school day.

I'm getting old.  As I drove away from the school I gave myself a high five.  Jens is my little caboose, the last of 6 kids.  It was nice to kiss the caboose one last valentine...then be done!  (Do you hear a touch of glee in my voice?)

This last week we hosted the annual cookie fund raiser for the Burlington-Edison Lacrosse team and baked over 1700 chocolate chip cookies.  Jens has been playing lacrosse since middle school, but this year he decided his after-school welding class took precedence.   He isn't playing lacrosse, but I still wanted to help out the league. 

Last year our cookie baking fundraiser fell on the day that school was canceled.  Moms and boys ventured out in the snow and we spent four hours baking cookies while snow was falling outside!  It was such a great team-building activity. 

This year we had rain instead of snow, but parents and players showed up  to crank out 140 + dozen cookies.  The boys pre-sold the cookies and paired this sale with their annual coffee sale and it made for a great Valentine package.

I mixed up four large batches of cookie dough. Each batch takes 8 pounds of butter.  Nothing spells yummy cookies like 8#s of BUTTER!

The boys labeled all of the bags and boxes and helped with packaging.  In under 4 hours, we had the cookies baked, cooled, packaged, with the kitchen cleaned, and all of the orders picked up!

I'm grateful for everyone who volunteers time to make sports happen for our kids.  I'm not a sports person (AT ALL) and prefer to be the 'Team Baker' and bring cookies as my contribution.  When I see coaches volunteering their time to train kids and mold teams, and team moms managing gear and uniforms, and all of the details that go into running a sports program, my heart is tender.   It is especially tender for our Skagit Valley high school lacrosse teams.  The picture above is from May 26th, 2018 when they won the State Championship.  The green goalie stick is from their fellow teammate Garrett Arendse, who they lost mid-season.  His death was a heartbreaking.  I watched as the team bonded with determination, raising Garrett's goalie stick during every game like a flag of brotherhood.  They went on to win State.  It was a beautiful day.

The team had to split the following year because of league rules.  It was hard on everyone.  Perhaps you can see why my heart still wants to be connected to these wonderful people who taught my boy, and me, about lacrosse,  teamwork, and how to forge ahead amidst heartbreak and loss. 

Its why I want to still do the cookies for the team.

Sweet Valentine ~
The theme of teamwork segues me into my next topic.  A special thank you to the sweet man in my life.  

"As you wish" was the constant reply Westley would give to Princess Buttercup in the movie The Princess Bride.  I would like to introduce you to Jim, the 'Weekend Westley of Willowbrook.'  He works tirelessly every weekend helping me with whatever project I am working on.

When we first started dating, I told him, "This is all about ME".  He said ok, and that is how he rolls.  He puts me into the car first. Even when we pick up groceries, he opens my door, helps me in, then loads the groceries into the car.  During the winter, he keeps a blanket folded in his truck so I can put it over my lap when we drive together because I am always cold.  

Jim is the behind-the-scenes guy who fixes, refurbishes, and is always game for the next project.  When my folks were building Sun Cottage (remember the October newsletter?  https://mailchi.mp/teaandtour/tea-ritual-and-chamomile-3931619?e=bc8f278dec) Jim flew down four times to help them.  

I mentioned that I wanted things to be 'all about me', but I do get out of my comfort zone for Jim.  He taught skiing up at Snoqualmie  summit and Crystal mountain for over 20 years, and, though I hate being cold, I took up skiing.  Jim makes great lunches!  I have to tell myself over and over, "I LOVE skiing!" 

When Aliece said she wanted to get certified in diving, Jim jumped right on board.  She did NOT like Jim at first and he had to work hard to win her over.  He is a dive instructor and certified Jens, Kjaisa and Aliece, and me.  Did I say I don't like to be cold?  Notice in the picture I am the only one wearing a full wet suit.  Oh.... I don't like to get my hair wet when I swim either.  

Jim has shared with us the beauty of the under water world. I finally began to enjoy it  once I got over the fear of dying underwater.   

Jim has been a gift to my me and my family.  He is a wonderful man.  

During Tea and Tulips in April, I will have his underwater photography on display in the art exhibit at Willowbrook.  His pictures share the beauty of living creatures under the ocean waves. You wont want to miss it!

Tea and Tulips ~

The tulips are coming up, and reservations are coming! We will host Tea and Tulips  every Friday and Saturday in April. The menu includes, soup, sandwiches, sweet cream scones and home baked sweets accompanied with a pot of Willowbrook's quality loose-leaf teas. Tea times are at 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00. 

The tulips will be in full bloom and guests can meander through the gardens before or after teatime.  Last year we were sold out every Saturday, so I encourage you to make your reservation early.  Click on the button below to reserve your table.  
Make your Reservation for Tea and Tulips
Seeding and Tea ~

The first annual Seeding and Tea was a splendid day!  I relished everyone who came.  Tea and warm sweet cream scones were enjoyed in the Tea Room, then everyone planted chamomile seeds around the dining room table. 

Roman chamomile seeds are very tiny, like grains of sand, so toothpicks were employed to get just a few seeds in each square.  The  trays will grow chamomile starts in the greenhouse, and in late Spring we will plant them in the ground, along with a flag that has the names of the people who planted the seeds.  I'm excited for my Seeding and Tea friends to return this summer and find the parcel of chamomile flowers that they helped to plant!

Carole and Susan delighted me by coming to Seeding and Tea.  I met them last year on the trail by one of my tour posts and we had the nicest visit!  It was lovely to have them in my home for tea, and I appreciate their help with planting chamomile seeds.  Carole told me the story of a family heirloom teapot and I asked her to send me pictures.  Here is her story:  

"In 1957 my mum Mavis (nee) Higgins and my dad Robert Scanes and myself Carole Scanes left England for Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  We traveled with everything we owned, a large trunk with a brown metal, teapot attached to the handle and the equivalent of $2000 (in British Sterling).  

My dad had an aerospace job lined up in Toronto but on arrival in Montreal my parents decided they wanted to stay there.  Dad got a job first at Canadair, then Rolls Royce.  In 1968 he got a job at Boeing in Everett which is what brought us to Washington State. 
In Canada we were Red Rose tea drinkers.  In the US we started with Lipton and soon switched to Tetley Tea which I still go to Canada to buy as I find it stronger than the US version. My family has a heavy history with tea as most British families do.  
Every summer for the last 10 years I have hosted a Women's Garden Tea Party  hosting anywhere from 25-40 lovely tea party dressed women using all the china and lace I own. 

Saturday, Feb. 15 my wonderful friend and neighbor treated me to tea at Willowbrook Manor.  It was a lovely afternoon with tea, delicious scones and planting chamomile seeds.  
Thanks so much to Terry for having a unique, beautiful and fun business right here in SW.  
Joie de vivre!

Thank you Carole, for sharing your history. Your parents were very brave.  I love that the teapot immigrated with you, attached to the outside of the steamer chest, so as to be accessible for tea! 

If any of you have a story of a favorite teacup or family heirloom, please share it with us!  Click the button below to send an email. 

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That is it for this issue!  Spread the love this post-Valentine season and share our newsletter with your friends.

If you would like to read previous issues of The Willowbrook Word click HERE.

 If you want to follow everything that is going on at Willowbrook, click on the social media icons at the top of the newsletter. 

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Until next time!

Jim knows that chocolate is a girl's best friend.  
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