Home Tour – Curbside, Kitchen, And Study

Welcome to my home.

Actually, we don’t live at this home anymore, but I still get butterflies in my belly when I see these pictures and my heart goes pitter-patter whenever something at my new home reminds me of this place.

I have a certain affection for some places I’ve lived.  The apartment that Yoda and I lived in for 5 years after moving to California is up there, but at the top of the list, no doubt, is this place.

Together with The Hub, we put 10 years of blood, sweat, and tears into this home.  We made lots of great memories here.

This is where we lived when we were married.  We lived here with Yoda (and Lily).  We started our family in this home.  Heck, I even gave birth in this house with my Little Young’un!  Not to mention first steps, first words, first…well, basically all the firsts happened here.

We love our new home, and I’ll be posting a tour of it sometime soon, but I don’t think any home will ever have the special place in my heart that this home has.

Can one be in love with a house?  A pile of sheetrock, 2×4′s, thousands of wood planks, and composite roof shingles?  With enough Macaroni paint and used brick…the answer is YES.

This first picture is the day we found this home.

Aren’t those clouds cool!?

Our Home At First Sight

We changed out the windows, added window molding inside and out, and painted the home inside and out before we moved in.

Yes, this was BEFORE kids!

New Windows

This Callery Pear Tree puts on a show every Fall.


Callery Pear Tree In Fall Color

And again in the Spring.

Callery Pear Tree In Spring Bloom

And I still drive down to the South Bay to see the show. [Read more...]

Jellies At Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey California is no doubt one of my favorite places on Earth.

You can read more about Our Monterey Bay Aquarium Adventure by clicking here.

Today I am sharing my top shot from our visit to the Aquarium.

There’s just something about Jellyfish.

So mysterious.

So calm and peaceful to see yet so dangerous to touch.

Monterey Bay Aquarium - Jellyfish

If you’re ever in the area, consider checking out Monterey Bay Aquarium.  It’s not just for kids!


ISO 1600

Focal Length 28mm

Aperture f/3.5

Shutter Speed 1/50

No Flash



Big Basin Redwoods State Park

The one thing my sister-in-law really wanted to do while she was visiting from Georgia was see a redwood tree.

If we still lived at our old house, she could sit and stare at a few 50-year-old ones all day and all night.  My neighbor might even let her camp under them.

Since we don’t live there anymore, Big Basin Redwoods State Park had to do.

The Hub found this place, and I have to say, he really knows how to pick ‘em!

We packed a picnic and headed for the hills.  The Santa Cruz Mountains, that is!

It’s a little bit of a trek on a curvy road that goes on for miles, but well worth the drive.  And an easy day trip from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Redwoods At Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Redwoods At Big Basin Redwoods State Park

[Read more...]

How To Pick The Juiciest Fruit

Today I was standing in the produce section wearing my wife beater and flip-flops when I hear a lady speaking in the strongest valley accent I have ever heard.  She said, “oh, these look SOOOOOOO like…FUUUUUUNNNNNNNNN!”

What the heck could possibly be SOOOOOOO like…FUUUUUUNNNNNNNNN! in the produce section?  Cuz me and the young’uns wanna have fun too!

That’s when I notice she’s dressed to the nines and eye-ballin’ Raspberries.

Meanwhile, in the Orange section, there was a whole lot of sniffing going on by another shopper, and it made me wonder.  How many ways are there to find the best tasting and juiciest fruit?  Probably as many ways as there are fruits.

While valley lady looked for SOOOOOOO like…FUUUUUUNNNNNNNNN! Raspberries.

And the sniffer shopper sniffed out the perfect orange.

I stepped up to the box and began checking the weight-size ratio of each orange.

This method has worked for me so I thought I would share it with you.

How I Pick the Juiciest Fruit:

Looking at these two oranges, they both look very similar.

And they smelled the same to me.

How To Pick The Juiciest Fruit - Orange

[Read more...]

Our Monterey Bay Aquarium Adventure

I am still reminiscing about our vacation.

Monterey is one of my favorite places on Earth.

I love the scuba diving.

I love the fresh air.

I love the mild summer days.

And I love the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

We saw a kelp forest.

Monterey Bay Aquarium - A Kelp Forest

We saw Silver Dollars.

Monterey Bay Aquarium - Silver Dollars

We saw Anemones.

Monterey Bay Aquarium - Anemones

[Read more...]

A 5-Day Art Project For Kids

Monday I showed you how I made a A Guest Suite Spa Retreat – On The Cheap.

On Top Shot Tuesday, I shared one of my favorite shots of The 40-Foot Tall Dancing Lady at Treasure Island in San Francisco.

The guest suite was fun to put together.

Seeing the 40-foot tall statue took my breath away.

But the most memorable moments of our vacation is the time I spent with two 5-year-olds and two 3-year-olds making beautiful masterpieces on canvas.

Picasso, eat your heart out.

Art For Kids - Painting

I love watching little hands hold a paint brush, dabbing the tip in a bowl of paint then squishing it down flat onto canvas.

Art For Kids - Painting

Gears are turning and fingers are moving as one to make circles, squares, lines, dots, squiggleys and splatters.

Art For Kids - Painting

While planning the one-week vacation, I came up with this idea to have a paint project that we would work on a little each day until the final day, when we would complete our paintings, and everyone would have something special to remember our time together.

[Read more...]

The 40-Foot Tall Dancing Lady

The 40-Foot Tall Dancing Woman At Treasure Island, San Francisco

Treasure Island is on our list of spots-to-go for friends and family who want to see the area when they come to visit.

I’ve been to Treasure Island many times before.

When we drove in and I saw this (newly installed) lovely dancing lady, she took my breath away.  I hopped out of the car and snapped 100+ pics.


Yea, I was that excited!

Long story short, I accidentally deleted all but FOUR of the pics.  This just so happens to be one of my favorite shots, but I sure wish I had the luxury of ruthless scrutiny.

You’ll be seeing more of this lovely lady.  I’m going back for a night shot one of these days!

This 40-foot Dancing Lady came from Burning Man.


ISO 800

Focal Length 17mm

Aperture f/14

Shutter Speed 1/800

Home Tour – A Guest Suite Spa Retreat – On The Cheap

Hello Again!

I’m so happy to be back in my purple bloggin’ chair with my gray strip pillow on my lap and my fingers on a backlit keyboard.

Last week my family and I hosted a vacation for my brother and his family.

We spent the week being tourist in our own backyard exploring the San Francisco Bay Area. I looked exactly like a tourist with my camera and traveling sneakers. The dead giveaway that I was a local is I had on a turtle neck in July.

More on that later!

Today I want to show you how I setup a guest suite spa retreat.  On the cheap.

We don’t have a lot of overnight guest in these parts, so this was a big deal for us.  Since we don’t have a lot of overnight guests, I didn’t want to break the bank on setting up the suite.

My brother and his wife are parents to two busy little girls the same age as my own girls so I knew that giving them a place to escape after the little young’uns hit the sack would be much appreciated.

At the end of my day all I want to do is put my brain on cruise control and take a breath without serving a snack or rescuing a screamin’ young’un from a climbing accident!

Little girls can wear you out quick, you know!

A Guest Suite Spa Retreat On The Cheap

A Guest Suite Spa Retreat On The Cheap

Color Palette

During the building phase of our new home, I knew I wanted the guest suite to have a spa feel.  I chose this tile for the bathroom.

A Guest Suite Spa Retreat On The Cheap

Here’s how it looks installed.

A Guest Suite Spa Retreat On The Cheap

It was important to me that the bathroom colors coordinated with the guest bedroom.

[Read more...]

How To Clean Windows In 30 Minutes

Last time I cleaned my windows, it was an ugly sight.

Cleaning those 19 windows was a 2 day ordeal.  Removing screens, hauling a heavy ladder around, rub on-rub off…my back hurt for days!

I never cleaned windows again.

That was about 8 years ago.

Then A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend, asking her about her day and such.

She told me she had cleaned her windows earlier that day.

I did a double-take.

She didn’t look frazzled, dirty or tired.  And she wasn’t still cleaning!

In fact, she had the same calm refreshed look she always has.

“Oh yea, I just used outdoor Windex cleaner.”

My window’s fate was sealed in that one comment.

I knew on that day I would be gettin’ some of that stuff and squirtin’ my windows with it too!

Windex Outdoor Window Cleaner

I searched high and low at Target and a few other places, but I knew for sure I would find it at Lowe’s so I made a special trip.

One bottle is $8.29.  I was thinking I would need a ton of it so I got 6 bottles.

I’ve got a lot of windows…

Turns out I only needed 2 bottles.  I did the curb-side windows as well.

2nd story windows just a little hard to reach?

Not with this cleaner!

Obviously, make sure you do the 2nd story windows first.

[Read more...]

Home Tour – A Ladybug Bedroom

Hello friends.

I am so excited to finally show you my little young’un’s Ladybug bedroom makeover.

A Ladybug Bedroom

A Ladybug Bedroom

It’s been a long time coming, mostly because I’m a little concerned about chemicals.

Respirator For Painting

OK, maybe a lot concerned about chemicals.

Reasonably so, of course!

It’s been several months since most of these furniture pieces were painted so the VOC’s have evaporated.

[Read more...]