Thrifty Finds : SHOES!

I’m sorry to blog about one little photo (then again, why not??), but are these not THE MOST ADORABLE SHOES EVER????


Ballerina espadrilles in pale pink!! There is quite a heel on them, you just can’t see it here…

I found them completely by fluke in a thrift shop, as I was looking for more crystal glasses while out with B, and thought of A immediately.

My little (ok, taller than me…) ballerina.


Guess how much. No, really, guess. Because the price makes them even more precious.

Six bucks.
Get out and thrift! (OHMYGOSH, the old me just turned over in her grave…).

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Thrifty Finds : Metal Bowls

Had a FUN day of thrift store shopping last weekend with good friend NR.
OOOOhhhh, the finds. And it’s (almost) guilt-free shopping when everything costs less than $5!
Most things were $1.99!

But I actually found these two silver bowls on two previous and separate occasions…

p3280193(I’m using my daughters BRIGHT pink camera to take this – can you tell?!!?)

Now comes the challenge of finding either more, or flat platters that “go” with them. I had no luck on either today.

I did, however, find these treasures.


Don’t they look SOOOO Martha??! They absolutely do NOT match a single thing in my kitchen, except the silver bowls above, but what-ev-ah. They were gorgeous. And only $7 for the set.


I also found 4 crystal (I think… I’m pretty sure…) glasses to go with my other 8. I like that it’s a completely different pattern than the others.


Now to invite 12 people over for dinner!
But, only 4 get the delicious dessert bowls šŸ˜‰ .


Thrifty Finds : Crystal Glasses

I must’a seen these in Martha once or something. Otherwise, I have no idea how I suddenly came to ABSOLUTELY NEED a set of old crystal glassware for our “fancier” dinner parties. Fortune, this past fall, was on my side however…


I found 4 or 5 with a quick tour of our local Thrift stores for about $1.50 each.


Another 3 were picked up at a local consignment store (for slightly more cash, I might add).
Aren’t they just so pretty??


I found old wine? glass ones too for candles… We eat by candlelight often – never did put proper lighting in our sunroom. And, yes, the next shot is actually a fancy table featuring fries + ketchup. But the fries were homemade – doesn’t that make them “fancy” enough to share a table with fine, vintage crystal????


Go shop THRIFT.


Anytime is LEGO time…

… as long as it’s under carefully supervised, meticulously segregated conditions.

We have a LOT of Lego in our house. It all started with a set of “Shark” Ocean Lego and grew like wildfire from there. Because we started buying it when Tt was just 3 yrs old and incapable of reading the directions, I’ve been the “Builder” and he’s been the “Re-Builder”. They’re roles we’re both suited for – I need outlines, systems to follow; he needs freedom to create.


I take the direction packages (some are 2 books long!) and attempt to build the items while Tt takes all my pieces… I always have to ask him to “please just let Momma build it once, so you can see it, then you can do whatever you want?”. The last one was 1070 pieces – I waited until he was asleep. B helped me and it still took us an hour to do one leg…


I’ve heard another Mom say that she was using the Legos and directions as a way to teach her child to follow instructions. I shuddered. There are many, many ways for children to learn to follow instructions, but not so many ways for them to be completely free and creative. I’d hate to squish Tt’s creativity at such an early age! That said, I do make him wait until I build it once… Oh well, no system’s perfect.


Tt, and now even Boo, will spend literally hours sitting with a box of Lego (they’re all segregated into boxes and never the Ocean shall meet the Star Wars, or Pirates, or Race Cars – Legos must stay with their kinds if Momma is to maintain any illusion of control), building and re-building things, telling little stories as they go along.


Hours and hours of fun.


After all, Momma loves Lego almost as much as the boys.
Ok,Ā  fess – I probably love it more.

Lego tips:

We’ve generally hit our nearest Lego store (Bellevue Mall, just 20 mins east of Seattle) or even the nearest Target (Bellingham) for Lego. When the dollar is not so bad, it’s reasonable because US prices are still 30% less than what they are here, and I always like an excuse for a shopping trip ;-). The Lego store has a whopping 10% off sale on Black Friday, sweetening the deal ever so slightly. If you spend over $100 (which is not difficult!), they give you a little box to come back and fill “for free” (plus the $50 in gas to get there, but somehow I still get suckered) off their Lego Wall. Plus they have a little scratch card they mark every time you buy something to keep for a future discount. I’ve also bought random Lego at swapmeets, which usually do not include instructions, but are good for our “Uncle Pete” bin (my brothers old old Lego hand-me-downs – a great bucket of totally random pieces). IF you can wait until a Lego is out of style, you can pick up 20% discounted Lego at London Drugs or other such shops, and Bionicles often are found priced “buy 1 get 1 free”. Yes, we know a lot about our Lego…

Hours of fun – and wonderful creativity!


10 things I LOVE – 08.12.15

1. Cooking (and of course eating) French Food. I do it so much, you’d think I know a thing or two by now, but alas… I roughly (and in great panic) follow instructions and try not to screw it up. I don’t think I do ANY French Chefs proud, but it’s still my favorite food cook – and to serve at dinners. This is my latest book purchase – the author/restauranteur was the advisor for “Ratatouille”, my favorite Disney/Pixar cartoon ;-). I made a number of recipes (or ATTEMPTED to make…) for B’s 17th bday family dinner coming up.


2. Puerto Vallarta. I’m so crazy missing Mexico right now! Warm night air, taquitos, Corona’s, hot sunshine, swimming with zee fishes… Ahhhhh. My last visit was out-in-nowhere Mayan Riviera in an all-inclusive – not, in the end, my cup of tea. I miss the (touristy) Mexican CITY life of Puerto Vallarta. I still remember this one restaurant recommended during my second visit by locals (and safe for tourists) : Pipis – guacamole made to order right at your table. YUM.

3. Wrapping Presents! I love wrapping the treasures I’ve found and stacking all them up under the tree! I never want to wait to hand them out, which is probably why we start opening gifts around the 20th… I’m always just a little bit sad coming home at the end of Christmas day to that poor, lonely, cold (and long dead) tree.


4. My beautiful two-toned kitchen. When we were ready to FINALLY install a real live kitchen after 4 years of reno’s, I was so excited. But the photo I’d remembered loving of a two-tone kitchen was long lost. I took a chance and ordered it as I still saw it in my head, and voila! A beautiful kitchen. I love that the dark lower cabinets and floors feel grounding, while the white uppers and ceiling feel light and airy. I love that I installed 30″ deep cabinets rather than 24″. I love the (indestructible) white countertops. I love it. Love it. Which is good, because I’m sure I spend more time here than my own bed.

dsc_8000(this is a really bad photo on a dark, cloudy day… I esp love the dark floors/lower cabinets at night – so calming, while the white uppers bounce around a little of the lighting.)

5. Bags. No, not the ones under my eyes – the bright, shiny or funky models on my arm meant to DISTRACT you from the ones under my eyes… Until there is ONE bag to go with EVERY outfit, day or night, there can never be too many bags in my closet! I took a pic of some of my faves. I bet you can’t guess which cost $4.99 and which cost, well, significantly more! I’m saving to hit next years Black Friday at Nordstroms for some new models. (Yes, some of my goals in life are that simple).


6. Jesus. He rocks. It’s almost His birthday. (Luke 2:10, 11 – I am bringing you some good news… Today your Savior was born”).

7. A’s sparkly eyes. Her whole entire body lights up when she smiles, right through her eyes. (see blog)


8. Bellevue Mall (in Washington) – a LEGO store, W&S and FOUR kinds of Pottery Barn!! What is not to love?? I ventured down for Black Friday (and here and here) just for that Lego Store alone…

9. Pioneer Woman – visual and emotional feast! My mom got me hooked onto her blog, and I always venture over when I’m tired of writing and am in need of a sit’n’read break – it’s really the only one I read. I’ve faithfully kept up to reading her “Black Heels to Tractor Wheels” love story and have made a few of her recipes already. Check her out: The Pioneer Woman

10. Laptops – I’m on my… third Toshiba in 6+ years. I guess that maybe doesn’t sell it well ;-), but so far they’ve been pretty good taking all the crap I pile on ’em. I especially love my big screen and extra number pad on this one! HOW did people LIVE before laptops!? Being able to carry my computer anywhere, means I can plug in, work, google, write ANYWHERE (I often pack up and go work from a nearby Starbucks). It also means I leave a messy trail of work, papers, crap EVERYWHERE. ahhh, well, can’t have it all.

dsc_7998(another iffy camera moment… notice all the smudgy fingerprints on my screen?? and Boo in the background sneaking a play w/ Tt’s Lego’s! Ai-ya!)

10 things I LOVE – 08.12.01

There are a lotta things I love in life… Here are the next 10!
(For the first 10, see blog)

1. My Family. Awwww! Hubby and Kids are just swell. Something else I love? Family Photos. Of all of us. Together. I’m taking them all the time, but we also take one every year to put into our Christmas cards.


2. Road Trips. Even if they are just down to Seattle and back! I love just getting into a car and going, wherever, whenever. I love the freedom of a car to stop when I danged well please. And, so, I must also love my roomy Toyota Sienna…

3. Lists. Hand-written, day-timered, texted, emailed – oooh, I love all kinds of lists. Countdowns, things to do, 10-year plans (yes, I did, but honestly – 10 years?) (yaaa, I actually made one to follow the “big events” of the next 20…). If ever I need to sum up my life, it’ll be a series of detailed lists with accompanying spreadsheets, with a few photos thrown in.

4. My PHONE. Samsung BlackJack. I swear I can text at least 50wpm on this baby. HOW did people survive before being able to get all their emails, text and voice messages ALL on their phone!?! I have no idea. It must have been a measly existence. BUT, we bought B the iPhone for her 17th bday… I think I’ll be upgrading soon… And A just got a similar one to mine that flips so your screen doesn’t get so scratched… hmmm.


5. Swapmeets. What a great way to score cheap Lego! And Bionicles! And Hot Wheels! Sure, you have to drive all the way to Tim-buck-too, spending countless dollars in gas… But seriously – $0.25 Hot Wheels – come on! Who wouldn’t grab that?
I find the Greater Vancouver ones at this website:

6. Exposure. South Granville is one of THE places I like to shop – it’s close, in the summers we walk all the way down, and it’s got some funky stuff. B, A and I always find at least one thing to sneak onto the Visa when Hubby isn’t looking. My last purchase there was two great tops.

7. RICEWORKS chips!! I’m soooo in my happy place when I eat these. It lists the fat/calories per 10 chips… guess I have to multiply by 10 for one of my servings – yikes. No longer such a “healthy choice” when you totally gorge on them.


8. Pear and Brown Sugar crepes. *sigh*. Nothing beats a morning down at Granville Island, starting with a pear and brown sugar crepe and a latte in the food court, heading to Oyama (see the last “10 things” list) to buy “supplies” and heading home to prepare for a dinner party.

9. Boo’s eyelashes. I just love ’em. (see blog)


10. Christmas Trees!! We have ours up by or on DEC 1st every year. The lights have been up since early November! What can I say? I love to be festive. I love making occasions, even the small ones, special. Every year we “theme” our Christmas – blue/silver, red/silver, green/silver (I’m not big on gold), and we pick the decorations to go with our wrapping paper so it’s all “coordinating”.


Black Friday – The DAY

SO, I decided to venture out this year for Black Friday… WHAT WAS I THINKING?? AM I CRAZY??

6:00 pm Thanksgiving Day:
Fed everyone, packed the car and left the house with tunes a’ roarin’! (level 34 – must have the car to myself for once. bring it on, Kanye). Almost messed our whole schedule up big – was suddenly realizing that because I can’t find my wallet right now, I had no photo ID to show w/ my Visa while shopping up a STORM. Then it hit me – SHIIIooooooT! I’d dang near forgotten my Passport. Grabbed it and went.

pic-0054(the pics are all taken from my camera – don’t expect great things!)

6:20 pm Thanksgiving Day:
Enjoying my tunes and tidying the car a bit at a stoplight, and found my wallet. And with it the aquarium pass Hubby needed for tomorrow. Turn around, go back home. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

6:30 pm Thanksgiving Day:
Really? Traffic was only half as bad going back home. Dropped off card to Hubby, turned around and headed back out to Grampa’s. Turned stereo to 45 for Pink (she can ROCK!).


7:00 pm Thanksgiving Day:
At Grampa’s… Ready for my 4-hr preparatory nap.

10:00 pm Thanksgiving Day:
… And sleep continues to elude me… Grama and Grampa have cable. I’ve been drawn into it’s big, dark black hole of brainlessness… can’t… turn… it… off…

11:45 pm Thanksgiving Day:
Nope. No sleep. Grampa is up from his nap, so we grab our detailed printed itineraries of stores to hit and off we go! WOOT WOOT!

12:45 am Shopping Day:
Easy breezy border lineup – 15 minutes max. We’re both wide eyed and bushy tailed, chatting the whole way along.

1:40 am Shopping Day:
Just dropped Grampa off at a Best Buy lineup with a chair and blankie (yippee for GPS) – it was already lined up around the corner. I’m sure he’ll have made 6 friends by the time I return. Passed at least 6 cops pulling over speedersĀ  – ALL BC plates.


1:50 am Shopping Day:
The parking at the Outlets is TOTAL CHAOS!! OHMYGOSH! Apparently the stores actually opened at 10pm. Some stores have 2hr lineups (Coach) and others none at all. I’ve just lined up for Banana Republic – I’d thought there was 40% off everything – the signs say 50%, so I’m happy to line up. Cold, but not rainy.


2:25am Shopping Day:
AND I”M IN!! Woot Woot! I was just happy to leave the ppl in lineup behind… If I had to listen to one more story about the ‘F’n Hawaiian mafia’, I was gonna wack myself.

2:45am Shopping Day:
And even the lineup to pay is ok in this store – so far this is great! I’m happy to have some things off my list – Jeans for me + Hubby, a new skirt and a new top. Dang, the mafioso is behind me again…Ā  Starbucks is right next door, so that’ll be my only other stop here before heading to Grampa’s lineup.


2:52am Shopping Day:
Dang. Could have saved another 15% for a total of 65% if I’d picked up my VIP booklet first. Off I go to pick it up, then return everything and start again since I have lots of time. At least I’d printed my Outlet vouchers!


3:30am Shopping Day:
Now in a big lineup to pee. Starbucks had a 45min lineup (then I assume 15 mins to get your coffee!), so n’mind. There’s one beside Best Buy where I left Grampa.

3:45am Shopping Day:
Found Grampa in BB lineup – yep, he’s made all kinds of friends. 1+ hours to go. Some people are leaving – the laptops on for $400 were out about 30 ppl in front of us. They keep coming down the line w/ TV’s and BB credit cards. At some point Jamba Juice guys dressed like bananas bring smoothies, but everyone’s already freezin’!


4:50am Shopping Day:
FRIG it’s cold out here!!!!!
10 more minutes.

5:20am Shopping Day:
Froze our butts off for next to nothin’. Other than the major doorbusters, which we weren’t there for, nothing much was on sale. Grampa found a few video games and a really short lineup (the ppl with vouchers for doorbusters had a HUGE long lineup – haha).

5:40am Shopping Day:
After a Starbucks drive thru for sustenance, went to a Wal-Mart. Went straight into the “pay” lineup while Grampa shopped, then switched, then STILL had an hour to go in the lineup. Nothing much even at that. Lots of $2 movies, but we already had them, otherwise, just the really crappy quality stuff was on sale. I passed on a digital frame I’d been looking for – too cheap. Many ppl had two buggys full of crap.


7:30am Shopping Day:
Arrived at Bellevue Mall to check out the Lego store. I’d thought the Mall was open at 6am, but apparently not until 8am. There’s already a lineup at Lego store – it’s the only lineup in the Mall. And there is only a guarantee of 10% off as they’re using some lame-o system of scratch cards at the till where you can get 10% or MAAAAYBE 20% or 50% off your purchase. Ai-ya.


8:30am Shopping Day:
Done w/ Bellevue Mall – got my two Lego purchases and the Lego Indiana video game for Wii. OF COURSE at only 10% off. All in all, it’s still cheaper than at home, even if I have to pay duty. The rest of the mall is fairly quiet, a nice change from the other stores we’ve been to. Apparently the anchor stores opened at 5am.


9:12am Shopping Day:
Grampa got a wee nap while I shopped Lego store, so now he’s refreshed and driving, and I’m kinda just hanging on at this point. Now I’ve lost him s’where in Fry’s… I found a cool video game the girls will LOVE for $20 – has Wii beach vball on it. I’ve been texting them updates all night and they’re super excited to play it when I get home.


10:30am Shopping Day:
We’re somewhere near… an airport. Looking for a Costco with gas. I think I’ll take a wee nap while Grampa shops – I’m all shopped out. Trying to keep under $400 for both of us so we don’t have to pay duty. $200 per person in the car seems to be their limit for saying “Ok, go through”. We’ll really test it – we’re at $392 by my calc’s.

12:30pm Shopping Day:
Ahhhh, feel a bit better! 2hr nap. We’re on the way home – with a flashing “tire” light… Ai-ya. It’s been POURING rain on the way through to Bellingham – we’re SO LUCKY it didn’t rain in our lineups last night.


So, for my troubles, I found 5 items at Banana, a Battleship game for $10US, about $160C (+ 2 taxes) worth of Lego for $120C (+ 1 tax), 2 really cool Wii games for $50US total… Not basement bargains by any stretch. But, the experience and time with Grampa? Priceless.


2:00pm Shopping Day:
10 minute border lineup, and no duty to pay! Whew! It’s been a good day.