Glass Pumpkins…? YES, please!


One of my favorite things to do in the Bay Area during October is to go to the Fall Sale at the Cohn Stone Studio.  If you are not familiar with Cohn Stone, they make fabulous hand blown glass objects that are sold at many high end department stores.  In October every year they open their studio and they have a great sale that includes many “slightly imperfect items.”  Even my children will accompany me to the sale because they love watching the glass blowing demonstration and “picking” a new pumpkin out of their garden.


The sale this year was only for two weekends in October.  It ran October 9, 10, 11 and Oct. 16, 17, 18.  The sale is over for the fall, but if you are looking for something particular, you can call them and they ship!  Also, you can head to their website where you can subscribe to their newsletter.

Cohn Stone Studio  560 S. 31St.  Richmond, CA 94804 phone: (510) 234-9690



You can never have too many glass pumpkins…right?


The Oregon Coast with kids

We have enjoyed visiting the many towns along the Oregon coast so much that we decided to take a 4 day trip and visit as many of them as possible. I went through Pinterest and found TONS of stuff to do with kids on the coast, then I chose what I thought my kids would enjoy the most. Our 16 year old daughter, 11year old daughter and 3 year old son had an absolute blast and I couldn’t believe how much we got to see in such a short time.   We started in Southern Oregon and headed North along the Pacific Coast Highway.

I have heard about the Treesort many times located in Cave Junction. It has been featured in several travel and family magazines. Six years ago I looked up the web site and had been put off by how far out you have to book a stay and how expensive it is. Finally I decided It was something my kids would always remember and we would just go for one night.  Im so glad we went because we all loved it, but Im also glad we only stayed ONE night. If you go here you need to visit the Oregon Caves, we have been there before and loved it, but skipped it this time. You will also want to eat at Taylor’s Sausage. If you can get past all the glass counters full of raw meat their cooked food is amazing!


There are several tree houses you can choose from. Some have full bathrooms, others do not. Some are only 12 feet off the ground and others are 47 feet off the ground with rope bridges to get to the entrance. They are all furnished comfortably and have fun quirky architecture and windows. You can check out the Treesort website here.


The next day we drove to Bandon, probably my favorite city on the coast. They have great beaches, quaint shopping and lots to do with kids.

While shopping we discovered a store/museum called Washed Ashore. This was so fascinating my kids did not want to leave. The entire gallery is filled with items made from plastic pulled from the sea! Click here for a link to their web site.

IMG_8221 IMG_8220

Another must stop in Bandon is  Face Rock Creamery. Great food, great ice cream and tons of cheese and cheese curd samples. My kids LOVE This place.

Most of our time we spent at the beach. We stayed at the Best Western Inn at Face Rock. This was a perfect hotel for kids. heated pool, breakfast and an easy walk to the beach. Our favorite thing to do here was explore the tide pools around the base of some of the large rocks.

IMG_8270 IMG_8342

The next morning we headed up to the Sea Lion Caves in Florence.  My three year old boy did not want to leave.  I though it was super cool and loved all the sea lion sounds. There is a long walk down to the elevator, but we got to see a whale breach which was awesome!!!



We spent the night at Inn at Arch Rock in Depoe Bay. I was a little worried to stay here because the hotel is on the edge of a cliff and i have a little boy who likes to run, but we actually loved this hotel. Our room was so nice and our balcony had such a great view we did not want to leave. The room even had a great pair of binoculars for my whale loving daughter to clock in some whale watching.


We drove to Lincoln city to do the “Finders Keepers” glass ball hunt. You can read about it here. We were not lucky enough to find a float, but we had fun trying.


Our next stop was the Oregon Coast Aquarium. My friends all raved about how amazing this aquarium was, my family all loved it but when all was said and done it was very expensive and much smaller then we expected. Having said that I would still go back.

IMG_8431 IMG_8488

After the aquarium we drove up to Tillamook to visit the Cheese factory, take a tour and have dinner. The tour is self guided and not that long, but the grilled cheese sandwiches alone were worth the visit!  We also stopped and visited with the Tillamook cows a couple of blocks away. We could drive right up to them since they were eating and roll down our windows. We love black and white moo moos!


After Dinner we drove to Portland and spent the night. In the morning we went to OMSI Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It was the weekend so the place was packed but still tons of fun. I was really impressed with their exhibits they had something for all ages so all of us were entertained. Our son especially loved the toddler room.

IMG_8595 IMG_8617

Driving back down south we stopped at the Wooden Shoe Festival for their Tulip Festival. I have never seen so many tulips in my life. It was absolutley breathtaking!!!



~The Country Chick

Time for chicks!

We had a long winter with little to no eggs. Getting 0-3 eggs a day,  I was forced to buy eggs from the store! I forget how spoiled we are until I eat eggs from a store. It’s like eating those ice cream dots instead of Haagen Daz.

Although our girls have picked up production now, we always add new chicks every year to replace the older girls (3-4 years old) that have stopped laying.

IMG_7249We love lots of variation in egg color so this year we added:

  • 10 Ameraucana (blue & green eggs)
  • 5 Black sex link (brown eggs)
  • 3 Barred Rock (Brownish/pink eggs and I just like the look of these girls)
  • 5 Road Island Red (Light brown eggs. They are not the prettiest, but they are prolific layers)
  • 2 White Leghorn (White eggs)


We always buy a few more then we need to cover the losses and roosters. Our motto is “If it crows, it goes”.  When were learning about chickens I read a post from a lady that terrified me. She said they raised all their kids around chickens and roosters and never had any problems. Then one year her 2 year old grandson was visiting and went to collect eggs with her and the rooster jumped up and pecked him in the eye. He ended up loosing almost all vision in that eye.

That was all I needed to hear. Its just not worth it. Many have tried to convert me to the benefits of a rooster, but I would rather loose a few birds to a predator each year and have beautiful chickens. Roosters can trash the feathers on the hens, they start to look like haggard old showgirls. So… “If it crows, it goes”

Once we bring the chicks home we start them off in a large horse feeding trough with heating lamps and a mirror or old CD.  If the chicks have something reflective to peck at they usually do not peck each other.  Chicks are pretty easy to take care of but in the beginning they can get Pasty butt. Yes, Pasty butt is as gross as it sounds. It occurs in baby chicks when their droppings stick to the tiny feathers (down) around their vent. So basically they can get a poop plug that if not taken care of quickly can lead to death.  The good news is, its super easy to fix. You just hold the chicks bum under slightly warm water as you gently massage the poop to break it up and get it all out. Dry the chick well and put her back under the heat lamp.


Really my favorite thing about baby chicks is the chirping sound they make and how mesmerizing they are to watch and play with.


You need to enjoy them when they are cute and fluffy because in a very short time they hit their teenage stage and they look downright scary.

~The Country Chick


Angkor Wat Cambodia

For the third stop of our two week visit to Southeast Asia, we traveled to Cambodia.  This was a quick 2 night stop with the main purpose of visiting Angkor Wat.  Angkor Wat is a  UNESCO World Heritage Site and a tourist destination for more than 500,000 foreign visitors each year.  Angkor is the largest religious site in the world.  It was built for King Suryavarman II in the early twelfth century.  It was first used as a Hindu temple and then a Buddhist temple.  It is a Buddhist site today.

.IMG_3734 IMG_3620

IMG_3724 IMG_3634

IMG_3630 IMG_3635

We left our hotel, the very lovely Raffles Hotel, at 5:00 am to beat the crowds and to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat.  Not sure that we actually beat the crowds, but we did get the very beautiful sunrise view and the reflection of Angkor in the reflecting pool.


The sunrise view of Angkor

We visited Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom from 5:00 am until about 11:00 am.  Our guide then brought us back to our hotel where we had lunch and swam in the pool.  It was a very nice break.  After a few hours, we were refreshed and ready to go back out for round number two.

The Raffles pool and a delicious drink of mango and lime juice.

The Raffles pool and a delicious drink of mango and lime juice.

During the second half of our day, we visited Ta Phrom and a few other ruins.  Ta Phrom was once a royal monastery built by Jayavarman VII in honor of his mother.  Today, the site looks like a movie set and was actually the setting for the 2001 film Tomb Raider.

IMG_3704 IMG_3699 IMG_3707 IMG_3702


All of these temples or wats are located just outside of the town of Siem Reap.  Siem Reap reminds me of a Cambodian version of Anaheim, California.  It is clearly a tourist destination.  Tourists come by the thousands to see Angkor Wat and the surrounding ruins.  The streets are lined with one large hotel after another, many of them very nice 5 star hotels.

As I mentioned, we stayed at the Raffles Hotel.  The Raffles is an historic French hotel that opened in 1929.  We were very happy with the location.  We were right across the street from the Royal Gardens and one of the King’s homes.  The king was in town while we were there for a UN conference on tourism.  Our hotel room looked right out at the king’s home.


The King’s Home in Siem Reap

During our free time we took a Tuk-Tuk into town and visited the market place.  Lot’s of fun things to look at.  We bought some $3 elephant pants to bring back to our kids.  We even had lunch at The Hard Rock Cafe Siem Reap.


We had a great 2 days in Siem Reap.  We felt we had just the right amount of time to see and do the things  we really wanted to.  Soon, we were off again…to Bangkok.


Krabi Thailand

The next stop in our two week adventure to Southeast Asia was Krabi, Thailand.  Krabi is located on the west coast of southern Thailand.  We stayed at the Rayavadee resort that was accessible only by boat.  The Rayavadee resort is located in the middle of 3 beautiful beaches.  One beach is used mainly for arrival and departure and the other two, Phra Nang Beach and Railay Beach, are for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and sun bathing and taking in the beauty of the geography and the crystal blue waters.


At the Ryavadee, we had our own private two story cottage that overlooked the beautiful pool and was only steps away from Railay Beach.

Our cottage

Our cottage


The Pool at Rayvadee

IMG_0002 IMG_0003

IMG_3279 During our four day stay at Rayavadee, we enjoyed massages at their spa.  We also book a few excursions through the resort.  The first excursion was a speed boat ride to some of the surrounding islands.  We snorkeled at Ko Phi Phi and enjoyed a picnic lunch at a beautiful sandy beach with crystal blue warm water. IMG_3334 IMG_3335 IMG_3337 IMG_0031 We also booked an excursion through the resort to go to an elephant camp and ride an elephant.  That was a lot of fun and we ended up with a ton of elephant pictures. IMG_3405IMG_3447   We really enjoyed all that the Rayvadee had to offer.  We loved seeing the monkeys, eating in all the restaurants, swimming in the pool and we still can’t get over their amazing laundry service!

IMG_3339 IMG_3287 IMG_3560 IMG_3281

Many people we talked to, chose to go to Krabi over going to the more populated Phuket.  Some travelers chose both Phuket and Krabi.  If you are planning a trip to the area and are considering Phuket, I would definitely consider Krabi as well. ~Tiffany


My husband & I returned late last week from a very exciting 2 week trip to Southeast Asia.  We visited Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia.  I will discuss each country in a separate blog post.  My husband is an estate planning attorney, but he really could be a travel agent in another life.  He has a love for geography and just a natural ability to choose where to best stay and what to see.

Singapore was our first stop.  Officially the Republic of Singapore, Singapore, is a sovereign city-state and island country.  It lies off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula and is only 85 miles north of the equator. While in Singapore, we stayed at the very lovely Marina Bay Sands Hotel.  This is an iconic hotel that you may have seen pictures of.  It is three towers with an infinity edge pool stretching across the top of all three towers .


The Marina Bay Sands


The pool at the top.


Not as scary as it looks!

The view from our hotel room.

The view from our hotel room.

While we were in Singapore for only a few days we loved the time at our hotel and the shopping center attached to it with super high end stores.  I felt right at home, as there was a Sephora (incase I get withdrawals ).  We also explored the city a bit.  We went to Chinatown and Little India as well as the beautiful Botanic Gardens.

Little India was amazing.  I wanted a dress!

Little India was amazing. I wanted a dress!


Botanic Gardens

We throughly enjoyed our time in Singapore.  It is beautiful, clean and safe.  The weather is warm and the people are kind and friendly.  They all speak English and are very stylish dressers!  The shopping is amazing and there is plenty to see and do!  Even though Singapore is pretty small geographically, we didn’t get to everything we wanted to do.  We heard that the zoo there is amazing and that there is a fun island called Sentosa that even has a Universal Studios.  We would love to go back again.


Throwback to Thanksgiving

It seems like a long time ago now with all the rush of the holiday season, but Thanksgiving was a fun time for us and one that I want to record.  We had Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year.  We had a lot people… Nearon, Palmers, and of course Grandma Bonnie!


Our adult and big kid table

So we had 3 different tables to accommodate everyone.

The medium sized kid's table.

The medium sized kid’s table.

I think everyone was slightly jealous of the little kid table.  It was so fun.  You could draw right on it or enjoy yummy snacks right at the table while everyone else had to wait for dinner.  I saw more than one adult sneaking goldfish crackers and pretzels.

Our 2 littlest guests were pretty happy.

Our 2 littlest guests were pretty happy.

The food was delicious.  Grandma Bonnie did most of the cooking and insisted that the turkey be cooked upside down.  She made “dead rats in butter,” (see previous entry) and yummy sweet potatoes and green beans.


The desserts were my thing.  Ali and I made cupcakes to look like turkeys.  Jacob and I made sugar cookies to look like slices of pumpkin pie.  I made combination pumpkin cake/cheesecake and also a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and salted carmel topping.  There was something for everyone at the dessert table.


So much to be thankful for…a very blessed life with lots of family together and they all got along!!!


My favorite Thanksgiving dish

Dead Rats in Butter.
Yep, that’s my favorite thanksgiving dish.

It’s a simple recipe.  Idaho potatoes cut very thin (I use a Cuisinart) with the skins left on, a pound of butter melted and poured over the top. Then chives and a lot of kosher salt sprinkled on top. Bake at 400 for an hour. Super easy and DELISH!!!!

My mom has made this every year for as long as I can remember. Why do we call it Dead rats in butter? About 20 years ago at a Thanksgiving dinner my Uncle Fred asked my mom how she got potatoes to taste so good. My father said “You put this much butter on dead rats and they will taste good”. Whenever Thanksgiving rolls around my girls always ask “You are making dead rats right?”.  Its their favorite dish too.


2006November3 001

Oh Deer… The baby is almost here!




A cute lady, Ali moved into the area a few month ago from the Bay Area. She has two darling little girls and is pregnant with a BOY!

Since this is Oregon and she is having a boy my friend and I decided to do a rustic deer themed masculine shower. We kept it simple with pulled pork sliders, cole slaw (recipe) to put on your pork (If you have not tried cole slaw on pulled pork you are seriously missing out!!!) a delicious kale salad (recipe below), and to die for brownies (recipe HERE). For drinks we had water bottles and Henry Weinhard’s root beer. It was simple but yummy and fun.







For the table I pulled out yards of different wool plaids (from my rug hooking stash) layered them on the table with a cool branch covered in moss from my yard.  All the serving pieces were galvanized metal or wood. Very simple, natural and masculine.

My awesome friend that was hosting the shower with me made this darling bunting for over the fireplace out of plaid and felted wool balls.



The shower was super fun and Ali went home loaded with super cute boy clothes!



Melissa’s Super easy kale salad (with an assist from Costco)

1 bag os sweet kale salad mix from Costco

1 avocado

1 can mandarin orange segments

1 1/2 cups Red grapes

Dump everything in a bowl including pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries that come with the salad and mix everything together with the poppy seed dressing that comes with the salad mix.



Thanksgiving in the City (or at least the suburbs)

Since Thanksgiving will be at my house this year, I’ve been doing a little planning.  Today, I decided to work on how the table will be set.  I worked on the center of the table with my new gold and cream table runner from Target.  I’m going through a gold phase, as you can see.  I made the center flower arrangement with really good quality fake white magnolias and gold magnolia leaves that I purchased in San Francisco at the flower mart.


Next, I got out the cream and gold Lenox dinner plates that used to belong to my mom and dad, but were a gift to me last Christmas.  I paired the dinner plates with Queen’s Myott Factory “Thanksgiving” pattern salad plates that I purchased a few years ago.


Just to make it fun and mix it up a bit, I added my new gold and white pitcher from Target.

Now, I have to start thinking about the menu.  There will be turkey and stuffing.  Because Grandma Bonnie will be here, there might be popovers, carrot ring and her famous potato dish nicknamed “dead rats in butter.”  It’s called that because even dead rats would taste good in that much butter and salt.

For dessert this year, I’m thinking of pumpkin cheesecake with a ginger snap crust and salted carmel topping.   I found a great recipe on The Pioneer Woman.  Of course there will be pies with whip cream and vanilla ice cream too.