My younger brother and his wife recently purchased my grandmother's home. Grandma Antoinette lives in a retirement home in Seattle now, and when my uncles and aunts decided that it was time to sell the old family home (which has an enormous beach, beautiful grounds and tennis court), we all hoped it would stay in the family. This home and beach, in Poulsbo, Washington, right across from Bainbridge Island, where The Violets of March is set, is a very special place to me. My dad was raised here along with his five siblings, and I spent so much time on the beach here as a child, I can say that it's one of my favorite places in the world. It's also the beach that I envisioned for The Violets of March. While the colonial that Bee lived in is a bit different than the mid-century home my grandparents built in the 1950s, the feel of the property and my memories of this special property translated onto the pages of The Violets of March. And now, as I bring my children to visit their uncle and aunt, they get to enjoy a piece of their family's history---and get a glimpse into their mama's wacky imagination.

Today we had a crazy thunder and lightning storm in Seattle (doesn't that weather vane photo look kind of eerie---like an image from a creepy Alfred Hitchcock movie trailer?! I shot it tonight at home when the thunderstorm was still raging). So, I packed up the boys and caught a ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island (favorite island in the world---as fans of The Violets of March know!), where I crossed the Agate Pass Bridge to Poulsbo, to visit my parents for the day. My boys loved hanging with their Nana and Papa and eating ice cream sandwiches outside while playing in the kiddie pool. My dad and I went on a long jog along the waterfront (and managed not to get hit by lightning when a storm rolled through), and then the big boys (3 and 5) harvested some vegetables in the garden with Papa. And, look at the amazing amount of onions and carrots we picked! And then Colby passed out for a nap in Papa's arms

I've always loved hydrangeas. In fact, it was the prominent flower in the arrangement (and bouquet) for my July 21 wedding almost 11 years ago! But, I nearly gasped when, the other day, I noticed that the hydrangea I planted as a tiny shrub in my side yard a few years go had grown from a single pink blossom to a shrub of the most beautiful varied colors. I see pinks, blues and purple blossoms all on one bush (I think this has something to do with changing soil acidity or something, but I am not a master gardener, so I'll simply call it beautiful!) And every time I pass it, I think of SweetTart candies! P.S. Blackberry Winter comes out in almost two months! I'm so excited! Have you pre-ordered?