Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Deep Thoughts: Take the Plunge

Life is either a Daring Adventure or Nothing at All 
 -Helen Keller

 This has always been a favorite quote, but one I haven't thought of in an applicable way. 
Then I had my boss/friend/mentor encourage me in something that is way out of my comfort zone. And it wasn't easy. But it was truly rewarding. And I thought to myself, yes! This is the person I want to be. The person who steps out, who tries new things, who doesn't say no right away, but thinks yes! 

Then my husband made an announcement that made me wonder who asked for this much adventure? Clearly not me! But though my first thought was that maybe I am too old for this, my next was why not? Why not mix things up, make a change, and make sure we are all truly happy and living life to the fullest. 

I am not saying the journey will be easy. I am not saying it will be without it's bumps, bruises, and I am sure occasionally bad feelings. But am putting this out there as my vow that I intend to approach it with an attitude of adventure. Because really, why not? 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Field Trip: Spruce

So, do you ever have a week where it rains every day and that new pet that you really love is feeling like a huge investment when he isn't getting along with your other pets and your teenagers don't seem to like you, and you never seem to see your spouse? You don't?  Well, I tend to have those weeks every once in a while. You mix in weather, the idea of a time change and sleep deprivation and you get a tired and cranky me. So I am very glad to have a cheerful, happy place in town to escape to and I would like to introduce you. Spruce is the lovely shop of Brittney O'Brien who is hysterical, creative and just plain fun. Bad moods run from her presence. 

To have a store like this in Bellingham is just such a huge thing. We now have access to lovely wrapping paper, creative independent magazines, and huge balloons! I'm talking huge people…"Red Balloon" huge…the French movie they used to show in elementary school that fascinated me. Pure joy. These are all the type of things that I would have to make a trip to Seattle to in the past. Now it's minutes away. 

And cool brands like Rifle Paper Co. and Knot & Bow that are made helmed by women. Working for a woman makes me aware and happy to see others in creative businesses. You put all the above together and you have a place you can find me most Saturdays. I encourage you if you are in town or find yourself in town to check it out. And if you need added incentive there is a Chocolate shop & a Dessert shop right next door! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Introducing Boston Rocket

I don't believe that I have introduced our latest family member! This is our new guy, Boston Rocket, a rescue from The Skagit Humane Society  that we added to our family just over one month ago. We had been wanting a dog for years, and finally pulled the trigger. It just felt like it was time. Or shall I say, it was just like when we decided to have kids…the minute we started talking about it, it happened. 

Has it been an adjustment? Yes. Has it been worth it? Absolutely. We have two teenagers, and two cats so saying our house feels a bit circus like is an understatement. Then the whole idea of gear, training (of him & us, truly), and changing of schedules. Whew! There may have been one mini-meltdown (mine) in the beginning because to be honest I felt like we had truly had another child. 

And then this new child curls up on the couch beside you, greets you at the door, or nuzzles your hand and you are over it all. Just like childbirth you forget the trouble. And you are smitten. We couldn't be happier. And my husband Steve? Over the moon about having another male in the house! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Food Magic: Beecher's Mac & Cheese

Hey guys…I have no idea what I did to this photo, but I had to share it anyway. We are experiencing our first snowfall of the season and it's given me a hankering for Beecher's Mac & Cheese from the cool little shop in Pike Place Market in Seattle. We were hugely excited to find their outpost in Seattle-Tacoma airport on one of travels and needless to say it's become a must stop, along with Caffe Vita for some delicious coffee art. 

Now you may not have heard of this dish, but after it was featured on Oprah's favorite things and touting itself as "Worlds Best Mac & Cheese" it became a hit in Seattle and beyond. My husband is a major cheese freak and I am someone that would never turn it down. And I am all for comfort food. When he found the recipe online it was a win-win for us both. Beecher's cheese can be found in our local grocery store and he had built up quite a collection of it. So we were able to whip this up in an afternoon. 

I won't put up the recipe here…I'm honestly afraid I will bungle it since I am suffering from a sinus/headcold thing and I really shouldn't be near electronics at all. But I will leave you with the link for the Mac & Cheese. It's worth a try. Trust me on this. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Field Trip: Salvation Mountain

This past summer my husband and I were lucky enough to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary in Palm Springs. Being in the Pacific Northwest we usually gravitate somewhere warm whenever possible. While there we were there we made the trek to Salvation Mountain and I feel so fortunate that we did. 

Salvation Mountain is the brainchild of Leonard Knight who just passed away Monday, February 10th. He wanted to create a monument to God's love, and despite the ravages of the desert, the opposition of men, and just plain running out of time he has created a monument to just that. 

Driving to Niland felt somewhat hazardous. We headed out on a windy, wild day into an area that was filled with ravines created by flash flooding. At some point we lost cel service and we were sent thru a customs checkpoint on the way back, even though we were not crossing a border. It was a bit harrowing and made us wonder about the wisdom of making the trip. 

But when we got there it was so worth it. There is something so incredibly moving about the place. The color, the size. It being in the middle of what feels like nowhere. And the open rooms full of prayers and notes from hundreds. I have to admit I spent the entire visit in tears. It felt moving and sacred. I have to say that it was entirely worth the visit and would encourage anyone curious to do so. It's an amazing story about having a dream, and making it happen. And loving God in the only way he knew how. You can find out more here

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Set the Scene: Valentine Breakfast

We have a daughter that will be spending Valentine's Day in Hawaii with her Grandparents so we did some celebrating early. It's always been fun to celebrate with the girls by having little treats by their breakfast plates before school…which meant that they actually got a breakfast on those school days as well, rather than grabbing one on the fly (which was a gift in itself…I'm not always a morning person.) But this time I enlisted my husband to help with the meal and it went above and beyond. 

Let's just say that if it could be make in heart form, Steve figured out how to do it!  You can't really tell it of the rolls, but we tried. And there was heart shaped bacon, but that was gobbled up too fast to get a photo of. And then there was heart shaped eggs…which I didn't get a photo of either. But they were awesome!  It was funny to see how far he would take it. 

Putting together this breakfast with Steve was so much fun. And doing things like this for my family is fun for me as well as them.  The shopping, the planning, the event. If they don't remember the funny glasses, the place cards (done by the lovely Brittney at Spruce), the chalkboard paper cloth, I do hope they remember the feeling of being loved & celebrated. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Field Trip: Q-Laundry

So I have found you a place for a Valentine's date if you need one. It's a laundromat. Yes, I know but bear with me. I mean first of all look at that seating area. It's warm, rugged, and so Northwest. And second of all, it's romantic on so many levels. Let me explain.

Maybe I should set the scene as to how a person with a lovely cherry red front loader washer & dryer ended up there. Our washer had been acting up for a while, then finally gave up the ghost. While the husband worked on it I decided to take all our laundry to this shiny new laundromat in town. Maybe the next photo explains a few things. 

Gross, right. But did you see the upper text? Oh, that was just a text from the washing machine at the laundromat! Yes, the washing machine! So amazing. The tagline for Q Landry, is "The Laundromat for Busy People." So you get a text when your wash is about to finish, and then again when it does. There is even a bank of machines that go from wash to dry. And don't even get me started on the t-shirt folders they have available. Let's just say our youngest daughter may have a job waiting for her at the Gap. 

Oh yes. Then there is the detergent bar, full of range of lovely detergents such as Calendrea and even their own blends. You can buy a card so that you don't have to worry about coins. And there is even free wi-fi. Two thumbs up from all of us. 

All this doesn't answer why this would be a great place for a Valentine's date. Think of it. Grab a couple mochas, a sleeping bag or some large comforter that could use a wash and head back in time to the days when you lived in an apartment. When you were maybe scraping by, maybe eating ramen or mac & cheese more often than you would like to admit. And remind yourselves just how far you have come, how many storms you have weathered. I love flowers and chocolates just like any other girl. But I really like a good love story. And ours could use a re-telling. And I know a place…

You can find all the details here. Q Laundry (p.s. This wasn't a sponsored post. I just really like this place. Like a lot. )

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Set the Scene: Balls of Inspiration

I love Valentines Day. There, I've said it. I don't know why it's a favorite. Maybe because it's based around telling people you love them, and there is paper and crafting involved. And of course candy and chocolate. What's not to love? 

I've heard the arguments against it.  It's commercial, we should tell one another we love them all the time, it was created by corporations, etc. All right, sure. But do we tell one another how much we care all the time? Does it hurt us to take a moment to tell our friends, our parents, our kids, our husbands & wives just how much they mean to us? 

In the spirit of embracing the holiday completely I thew these little decorations together. Can I just say that these glass balls have been so handy? They are so fun to fill with glitter, candy, whatever you can come up with really. I did have to be careful about just how much candy to fill them with as they became so heavy they pulled on the caps. I added some neon twine, a little message, and voila. A little Valentine love. 

Where do you fall on the Valentine argument? Do you celebrate? 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Deep Thoughts: Sparkle & Grow

Our New Year's Eve consisted of a Plan B after scrapping plans of attending a super fun party in town that would included a disco barn & fireworks. But after realizing that we weren't up to that due to recent illness we made our own fun that included pipe-cleaner crowns, confetti, champagne & a photo shoot! 

I spent some of the Christmas season mourning that my girls were no longer "my babies" and that Christmas had maybe lost some of that magic it had when they were younger. I spent some time trying to recreate some of that magic in various ways for them and me…an advent calendar, balloons on Christmas morning, things like that. But what I really learned was they are magic.  They are magic now. They are amazing. They like making things with me. Like any teenager they love a good photo shoot! And they could spend hours throwing confetti at one another and me! 

So I am celebrating. Not just a New Year and the fresh, delicious start it brings. But I am celebrating my teenage girls. My crazy-making, lovely, smart, creative girls. I look forward to a year of playing with them. Observing them & helping the.  And simply loving on them.