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Merry Christmas!!

Things have been crazy but I did manage a little holiday sparkle.   I had been picking up some pine cones every time we walked in the school yard, but I wanted more, because I only wanted nice pine cones.  My mom purchased a bag for me and they had the strongest cinnamon smell.. Holy cow! I used those pine cones on the front door because those overpowering vile cinnamon scented little buggers absolutely could not be in the house.  I bought some fabric ribbon to use for gift wrapping but had some left over. Using the trusty hot glue gun I glued the smelly pine cones to the ends of the ribbons and tied the ribbons around an old key ring (so I could easily hand it on the door).  Easy peasy and could be free if you had pine cones in your neighborhood.

Front Door

I put the Christmas Bells on the front door… they are cute and you hear the door when Bethany comes in late after babysitting.

Christmas Bells

The Christmas Tree…

Christmas Tree in Federal Way

Since Paul was not going to be home for Christmas I did not drag out the Christmas dishes and all of the Christmas decor. I only did a few little things around the house.

Santa Puppies

Tinkerbelle, Snickers and Fushi were very festive. The Shih Tzu Mafia have Santa Suits as you can see but they also have not one but two Christmas sweaters. Lucky Dogs!  So they have been very stylish all month long!

SnickersDSC_0150  Fushi




My moms house looked pretty festive. She had decorated early in December.. but even she decided to use a smaller tree and only drag out a few things this year. Although she did drag out the Christmas dishes which was better than I did.

My moms tree

Love this cute little tree.

Moon MirrorSanta's Lurking AboutNativitySanta Moon




My mom always decorates around this moon mirror for every season, it always looks so good. She put little Santa’s all over the house, put up the Nativity and this darling moon Santa. My mom has the best decorations.  We had a nice quiet Christmas Eve at my moms. It was a wild week here. My mom was not feeling well Thursday night (the 20th) and went to bed. She called me at 4am Friday morning to bring her some anti-emetic medication, around 10am mom said she needed to go to the emergency room. I took her to Allenmore Hospital and we waited for several hours before she got a CT scan.. but as soon as they had the scan results she was being prepped for surgery. She has a bowel obstruction by internal hernia. Four feet of bowel had wiggled through the opening and was turning black. Thankfully when the surgeon put the bowel back where it belonged and closed the hole the bowel pinked up and nothing had to be removed. We were not sure when they would release my mom, I thought we might be there for Christmas Eve. I had a plan however.. if we were celebrating Christmas there I was going to make her BE the tree. I thought a headband with a little star on top would be just the ticket. Luckily for Mom they released her the morning of the 24th and we celebrated at home.  Mom is doing really well and on the mend.

Bethany and Nan DSC_0261 DSC_0275

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday!!

A Keurig Elite 40 Machine and the Search for a decent K-Cup

Paul and I had talked about this whole Keurig thing for a while and recently it was on a great deal so we snapped one up. This is the Elite 40 model, there is nothing at all to set up really. This is a plug and play sort of machine, which is great.  The machine comes with a variety pack which is helpful – you can try those and see if something strikes your fancy.

The machine takes K-cups and the prices vary wildly from brand to brand. Most of them seem pretty expensive to me (unless you locate a sale). K-cups are also available in regular tea, flavored tea, chai, hot cocoa, apple cider and iced coffee/tea. Honestly I was excited to try all the varieties.  I even made a cup the night I opened the machine.

However cup after cup I find *most* of them to be watery and tasteless. How is this so popular? I am stumped.  I personally prefer a medium roast coffee, usually a medium roast is full of taste but lacks that burnt or bitter aftertaste the bold roasts seem to deliver.

In the mean time I ordered another variety pack online to keep trying more options.

I was at our local Safeway and see K-Cups are on sale. WHOO HOO! Carl wanted Swiss Miss Cocoa, I declined to buy it after reading that they use sucralose in them.. I picked up a box of Café mocha and sucralose is in there too. I finally pick a peppermint tea, an apple cider and a coffee from Caribou.

Carl tries the Green Mountain Naturals Apple Cider says it is tasteless. AWESOME. Wish that had been in the variety case!

I see Starbucks is now offering their own system, the Verismo. The comments on the V585 are really dismal. For $399 I think people want a little more. The Verismo 580 seems to have fared a little better with consumers but the price point is half of the V585. Man I am sure glad I didn’t run out and get one of these.    I am still forever hopelessly addicted to the little Starbuck’s Via coffee packets.

Home Goods is a Trap

I had to make a run to Trader Joes… but wait, it is right next to Home Goods right? Like a lamb to the slaughter I went willingly. I love that place, but its a total trap, you can’t leave empty handed.

Carl and I saw this pillow:

I thought it was funny and Carl quipped “I don’t want to have to worry if my pillow is having a bad hair day!”.  HA HA HA That was funny. Seriously though… what in the heck do you do with a hairy pillow? What on earth does this match exactly?

I did not buy the hairy pillow but.. I did buy something I might not have needed exactly.. but year before last “the boys” had these darling green candy cane pajamas I found at Target so this year the boys have Christmas tree pajamas and Tinkerbelle has gingerbread men PJs. Too cute.

They are going to be so cute!


Flame Mahogany Buffet

This summer while perusing I found a fabulous buffet available in Seattle, the guy wanted $25.00. Yes, yes I want that. I loaded Carl up in the van and we drove over as soon as we could. What a great deal. When we get there not only was the buffet stunning, but the little family selling it was really cute. The husband had done just an amazing job on their house, really he had some just incredible ideas, so that was fun to see. I wish I was even half as handy as this guy.

There are small pieces of trim missing and I may remove all the trim and see if I can replace it but I should say I love it just the way it is (even if there is a little damage). Originally I was going to paint it but I love the wood so much I’m not sure I can right now. Maybe I’ll change my mind later.  It sat in the garage for a couple weeks and then I decided I wanted it in the dining room.. now, as is. I am so glad we did that, because it is fabulous in there.

As a bonus as I was leaving the house the husband asked if I wanted the matching hutch. Really? YES!!For another $25.00. Carl and I would come get it at a later time but I was so excited. A matching set.. for $50.00! What a deal!

We did take that opportunity to go visit my best friend Susie while she was recovering from surgery. It was good to see her and see how well she was getting around.  We sat in the garden and visited, it was a great day!

Auction Addiction

I found out in our little Tacoma area there are a number of auction sites. Who knew? So now I am totally addicted. I of course continue to find things on eBay as well. So far my purchases have been:

A set of three swirly silver candlesticks ($15.00)I like them as they are but they would look fabulous painted black with pumpkins on top wouldn’t they? Or maybe just the way they are.

A set of 2 huge white candlesticks ($15.00) – I have since painted these a glossy black and I think they will look fantastic by our fireplace.  They were white and had a ton of ick all over them. Some soap and water and a few coats of glossy black paint and they look like the ones I saw in Maryland for 50.00 each. WHOO HOO!!

This birdcage votive holder was on eBay and so cute, I plan to use it in the dining room on the sideboard. I think this was supposed to be wedding decor but I love it all lit up with votive candles. Thankfully I do really love it because it took FOREVER to get here. They were out of stock (Blah blah blah), So I waited three weeks for it to ship.

Milk Jug

I won this galvanized milk jug and think how fabulous this will be for Thanksgiving with a wheat bunch next to it. Awesome!

I found a set of the huge 70′s spoon and fork,  I will have to paint them some outrageous color (orange?) and put them in the kitchen. They were only $7.00 so I could not pass it up. While visiting a local antique shop  I also found this small washboard. How cute would this be in the laundry room?  Okay so these are not auction items but I had to show these too.

I won a darling bright yellow art glass pitcher but some idiot picked it up – they probably won the amber candy dish and took mine instead because my bright yellow pitcher was way cuter!

I have so many projects to wrap up before Paul comes back!!




Sea Snax Review

While perusing the organic aisles at Fred Meyer Carl and I came across these little packages of Sea Snax. I had never tried them before, but I have had dried seaweed sprinkled on a salad and it was fine so we thought we would try a couple of flavors.  We however only tried one flavor… just no.  They are wispy thin but of course they tasted like I was licking a piece of kelp off the beach. I didn’t want to waste them of course so I took the remaining packages and put them in my daughters stuff because she is staying in the dorm and I thought one of those girls will eat them.  In the meantime I was willing to lick almost anything to get the taste out of my mouth. Can’t they hide these in chocolate? Until then I will have to take a pass on this one.

Inexpensive Art for the Kitchen

Framed Coffee Bean Bag

I have been working on some wall decor for the rather blank walls we have. We have really high ceilings at the house and need a lot to fill up the space. I’ve been piecing together ideas, ordering pictures and frames (wow, frames are expensive) as the budget allows. I did buy a used coffee bean bag off of eBay for $5.00, okay actually I had to buy two of them because I cut the first one too short (bad). I found a large simple frame at Michael’s for $7.00 (with a mat) and framed the bag.  The print on the bag was unfortunately offset so it looks slightly off center (this adds to the charm right?). For about $12.00 It works and represents one of our favorite things.. coffee. Now if it were a chocolate bag… that would really be something!

Another great idea might be to staple the bag over cork for a cute useable message center too.. so many ideas.. so little space, time, and budget.

Avenue Stores – Big Sale

Apparently the company that owns Avenue has undergone a bankruptcy and is closing 150 stores nationwide, In Washington State the only two stores that will remain open are Renton and Yakima. Everything is 60% off at the other stores currently, both the Lakewood and Tacoma stores have gotten an influx of stock from stores closing in Las Vegas and Texas.

Tacoma Avenue

This would be a great time to stock up on things you might need. Sizes 14/16 are in high demand and selection is limited (but still good and worth a visit), however if you are in a size 22+ you have a ton of options.    If you have the time stop by a couple of stores, stock is very different at each store. Happy Shopping!


The Alexis Hotel

My sweetheart took me to The Alexis Hotel for my birthday & Valentines Day. The Alexis is a little boutique hotel in downtown Seattle with an eclectic style and unique touches everywhere you look. Lots of art in all styles and mediums. The rooms are beautifully furnished, both rooms seemed quiet, I did not notice any street noise at all. The location is fabulous, the hotel is close to everything you might want to do downtown.

Sitting Area for the first room

The sitting area had great art, a television and a fireplace.

Love the simple art and the ornate mirror.

From the sitting area you see the bed

The bookcases in the sitting room are stuffed with reading material, what a great idea.

A TV and Microwave (think late night snack)

There is another television across from the bed in case you want to snuggle up with a late night snack and watch your favorite show.

The spa shower

Room one also featured a lovely spa like bathroom with a huge shower.

This however was not the room Paul meant to reserve. He went to the lobby and moved us to a Spa Suite. and Holy Cow was it ever worth it!

Art and Antiques near the elevators

Entry Hall

Spa Suite Bed

The Sitting Area and Bar in the Spa Suite


Desk area in the suite

If you are forced to do some work you have a cute little area to set up. They do have wireless internet access (we always look for that).

The Spa Suite Tub!

Now this is a bathroom, it is amazing! A huge tub for two and a large shower.

Shower in Spa Suite

Sink area in the Spa Room

The Spa Suite room was very large, the beds were comfy, we had coffee and read the paper in bed first thing in the morning. It was so luxurious! I love that!  While we were there I did notice that they are a pet friendly hotel. I would have never guessed. They also have an exercise room but I did not use it (no one was chasing me with an axe).  I wish I had thought to take pictures of the lobby.




Seasonal Delights Cafe & Espresso Co

Everyone knows how much I love a deal, when I saw the deal on Yelp I thought “wow this looks awesome!”, so I bought it yesterday and took my mom for lunch there today. Freighthouse Square was this cute little place teeming with shops several years ago so I thought this would be a great opportunity to go back and see what is there now. The answer to that is not much! It was depressing, most of the spaces were vacant, there were very few shops and eateries. Maybe this should have been a clue.

While we walked along you could smell fabulous baked goods(cinnamon rolls probably), we saw the reader board displayed out front of Seasonal Delights and the offerings looked great.I was confident we would have an amazing lunch at that moment.

The Reader Board

When I ordered the chicken crepe I was told by a young gal that this crepe was off the menu for the season (okay but it is on the board- but I said nothing) so I chose the chicken cordon bleu crepe instead, my mom ordered the Hawaiian crepe. We also ordered two lemon zinger crepes for dessert.

The savory crepes arrived quickly and My mother asked if I was trying to kill her off. Oh that is not a good sign at all.

The crepes were too thick and utterly tasteless.. this was like a Denny’s pancake – nothing like the delicate crepes you might be hoping for. Inside was a tasteless unseasoned mix of cheese, deli ham and chicken, bland and boring.

Apparently the Hawaiian was much the same according to my mother. I declined to try a bite.

The Lemon Zinger

The Lemon Zinger Crepes were the same thickness with lemon curd stuffed inside and raspberry drizzled over the top… at least you could taste the lemon. Other than that it was a total flop.

Everything used was out of a package or jar.. except for the THICK crepe.

When I was recounting the story for my girlfriend Kristen, she told me she had a horror story of her own. When Kristen and her mother dined at the same eatery her mom found a slug in her salad. YUCK!

On the upside the woman that owns the place was very nice and friendly…  we did not complain to her because honestly what is the point? I am not coming back after that.

Later both my mother and I had stomach issues.. my advice, do yourself a favor and skip it.

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