Good Morning Coffee! Good Morning Diet Coke!

Good Morning Beverage Bar shining on the birds and the butterflies!

Who here, needs their coffee in the morning? A Diet Coke?  I thought so.  Whether you have kids, a stressful job, or just love the warmth that a hot beverage provides during the first few moments of a morning, a coffee bar is a great thing to have set up in your kitchen.

Our kitchen is lovely, but doesn’t have a ton of counter space. A few years ago, when the two of us really started drinking coffee every morning, we bought a Keurig at Costco.  We don’t have to brew an entire pot of coffee so it works really well for us.  Unfortunately, it has been moved to a few different spots over the years.  It didn’t really like sharing it’s space with the Boon drying racks,  so then I moved it to the top of our bookshelf.  Not exactly a smart idea considering it was hanging off the edge. It was my attempt at using what we had to make a coffee bar.    The bookshelf was becoming my catch all for cookbooks, formal silverware, bibs, mail, and our heavy pans.   I’ve started to learn that sometimes spending some dollars to create what you really want is worth it.

before coffee bar


Here’s my PINspiration for home coffee bars:

Pinterest Coffee Bars

Favorite Coffee Bar Pin

My main goals were to:

-find a sturdy place for the Keurig and all it’s accessories- sweeteners, coffee pods, spoons, cups,

-An extra place to put items for tea,

-Drawers for pens, shopping lists, and other small items,

-Shelf for some cookbooks and heavy pans,

-and for O’s bibs and wipes since his high chair is right next to the bar. 

Here’s what we ended up with:

IKEA Forhoja kitchen cart- unfinished wood cart with two sliding drawers and two wheels

IKEA Stenstorp wall shelf with hooks for coffee cups

IKEA Bygel rail and wire basket

IKEA Fintorp caddy for holding K-Cups

IKEA Barbar Tray

IKEA Rajtan  Spice jars for holding loose leaf tea and sweeteners

Since the coffee bar inception Chris got a SodaStream.  He uses it every day to make flavored sparkling waters (and if you follow me on facebook you’ll know I used it to make club soda to get a red wine stain our of our carpet).  Now, I should really call the coffee bar a beverage bar.

Everything in its place

coffee bar final (6)

coffee bar final (5)A sturdy kitchen cart to hold our Keurig, SodaStream, and all the accessories

coffee bar finalA tray complete with Cafe Cup pods, spoons, ground coffee, loose leaf tea tins, and SodaStream mixes.  The Cafe Cup pods are really nice because we can use ground coffee in the Keurig easier than the filter it comes with.  This make it cheaper than buying K-Cups.  They can be found at Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Amazon.  I used an upcycled Bonne Maman jar wrapped with a little baker’s twine to hold our stirring spoons. For now we use rubbermaid containers to hold our ground coffee, but I’d love to find something glass that is decorative but easy to open.  


coffee bar jarsA place to hang cups, tea scoop, jars of tea and sweeteners, extra K-Cups, and tea towels. The hooks for the coffee cups allow quick access to your sweet nectar vessel and frees up some space in the cupboard.  I love the little glass spice jars to hold our sweeteners. Keeps them organized.  I use the jars for our loose leaf tea, keeping it air tight and fresh. 


coffee bar (7)This shelf makes me smile.  I finally have a place to displace my pretty water pitchers, and tea pots.  You may recognize the print from O’s room. I relocated it here because looking at it gives me a happy jumpstart to my day.  “Today Is the Day” print by TheBigHarupmh on Etsy. 


coffee bar lowerAn open spot for a selection of cookbooks, bibs and wipes, and extra whole bean coffee.  The bottom shelf has our cast iron heavy pans

Just like a morning cup o’ joe this new coffee bar makes me say “Aaaahhhh!”.  I’d love to see your kitchen bar ideas.  Share them in the comments below!


Valentine’s Day Gifts for Man and Wife

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AKA: Why I’m still a sucky gift giver!

Another holiday celebrated by spouses has come.  Today is Valentine’s Day.  The one day a year that you have to express your undying love for someone (or ones).  Boyfriends get to surprise their girlfriends with roses and chocolate, as girlfriends secretly hope for a diamond ring.  Kiddos take festive heart-shaped and cartoon-faced paper and candy valentines to their classmates.  And husbands have to get to show their wives just how much they love and appreciate them.  Traditionally, it’s been a major stressor for most men.  In my case, I’m the one who stresses about it.

Actually, I almost completely forgot about it this year. Just like last year when I was in angst because my little guy hadn’t gotten here yet, this year I’ve been worried about putting together the perfect 1st Birthday Party.  My lord…where are my priorities?  Despite my continued obsession with Pinterest, I still didn’t get it together. With 1.3K pins, you’d think I’d have a few ideas to effortlessly put together.  Unfortunately, I remain a sucky gift giver.  I made a decent effort.  What I’m trying to say, is that my version of romance was Beard Wash and a Facial brush for my husband.  Damn, it sounded so good in my mind.

Let’s break down my gift and then I’ll explain why my husband puts me to shame.  Husbands if you’re reading this, you’ll get some great ideas for next year.  Ladies, I suppose my idea for Valentines is great for the metro type of man.

Bluebeards Original Beard Wash

Found on Amazon, this beard wash received excellent reviews.  Using is supposed to help the beared obtain soft facial hair and smooth skin underneath.  Skin can get itchy and dry underneath a beard, so this should help.  It has lime which helps “break down trapped dirt and oil clinging to hair shafts and follicles”, and aloe which “softens and soothes skin and beard“.  Fantastic, right?  Chris has had a beard for years now and I thought a little treat for his facial hair would be nice.  And save his sometimes itchy skin.  I paired the beard wash with a manual facial brush. (Because getting him a Clarisonic might be pushing it)

Bass Facial Brush

So, it’s a nice gift, yeah?  Not over the top, but says I love you AND your facial hair.

On to Chris and Oscar’s gift for me…

Oscar got me a little card and gift cards to Chipotle and Starbucks.  Oh dear, how my son and husband know how much I’m addicted to Chipotle.  (The employees now know myself and my coworkers orders each time we come in)

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Perfect in itself! Food and coffee.  I think I’m complete now.

No, there’s more…

After Chris left for work the UPS man delivered to me a beautiful personalized canvas print from Red Envelope. (A go-to gift place for husbands.  Chris loves it!).  Each gift comes in a richly colored red box with a cream ribbon and those two little words- Red. Envelope.

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I’ve never been one for phrase prints but this has very special meaning and is painted in one of my favorite shades of blue. It’s beautiful my friends. I immediately hung it on the wall.  And as luck mind reading would have it, I hung it on the same wall that Chris was thinking of.  The phrase “I love you to the moon and back” is familiar to some of you and from the book we read to Oscar- Guess How Much I Love You.   Makes my heart pitter patter to know that I have two handsome men that love me so much.

Two of the best gifts EVER.  

So that’s it, right?

Of course not…

Something even better, that I’m already day dreaming of.

From Chris, in my card, a personalized coupon book, like I did for Chris for our anniversary in this post, but only waaayyyy better coupons.

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Can you read those gorgeous little pieces of paper? Let me recite them for you..

2014 Love My Sweetie Coupons good for:

One week free of helping with the dishes

One weekend of sleeping in as late as you want

One week break from cleaning the catbox

One lunch (of your choosing) delivered to you at work (please allow 24 hour notice)

One week of my nightstand, dresser, and side of the bed being clean without exception

One afternoon blogging at Starbucks

One night free of cell phone, laptop, tablet usage by both of us

One 30 minute massage

One run to the town center for a treat of your choosing

One girls night out after work without feeling bad for leaving me home with buns

One $100 shopping spree

And One year of all the love you can handle

I’m giddy.  Over the moon.  Salivating at the prospect of some of these.  I’m already planning what I’ll wear.  Preparing to take camera shots of Chris’s nightstand and dresser spotless.  Excited, ya hear??   I’m a mom and love my son one hundred times over, but I am the first to admit, I’d love some time out to myself, time with my girls, new fashionable outfits, and a clean house.  This is the MOST PERFECT GIFT for a mother and wife, even if it’ll only last a fraction of time.   I’ll need to get my decision making skills in order to make the most of these.

How can I compete?  It must be the Thompson competitive gene in him.  =)

He says I “give what I would want” and that he gives “what you want”.  He’s totally correct.  Any new approaches to gift giving peeps?

“Tactical” Daddy Diaper Bag

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Diaper bags are one of the biggest necessities for baby.  Even at 10 months, I find myself stuffing it full of anything, and EVERYTHING, that I think he’ll need while we’re out. Before O was born I had a vision of a designer diaper bag that I would tote around on my shoulder.. Myself dressed in a flowy top, brightly colored skinny jeans, and some cute wedges, with my dearest baby in my arms. I needed a Timi and Leslie bag, so that I could look just like this mom.

Timi and Leslie Hannah

Truth is, most of the time I’m in my comfy-snug clothes with my hair up in a ponytail and zero makeup on.  Plus, I found out after becoming a mom that the Timi and Leslie diaper bag is more stylish than functional.  I have often ended up cursing at myself when trying to find things that I earlier stuffed into it.   Chris antagonizes me when we sometimes choose to use his diaper bag instead of mine when we go out.  It was a Fisher-Price backpack, and although not very cute, you could stuff almost anything in it. Seriously, the thing was $35 and for some reason remains much easier to find things in than mine.   Unfortunately, it hasn’t held up the greatest.  It started ripping at the seams of the bottle pocket, so Chris decided to spend some extra dollars he received from an Amazon return to purchase a new and improved Daddy Diaper Bag.

Enter the Condor Compact Assault Pack.  Who says you have to use it for a military mission?

Military assault gear bag or a diaper bag? You decide!

Chris described it as a “tactical bag”.  Until I looked it up on Amazon I had no idea that it was actually meant for hauling your machete knife, survival chain saw, and ammo around.  In addition, it comes in every color camo and desert tan.  Seriously, check out this screen shot of “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought”…tactical bag screen shot

In case the picture is too small that’s a  hydration bladder, big ass knife with included fire starter, mylar thermal blankets, nylon cord, and a deployment bag. Eek! Can I just say that I’m so glad Chris is not using it for this purpose? (And that he got black, not A-TACS camo.  Whatever the hell that is).  Actually, he did just inform me that it has a special compartment for a hydration bladdder, aka our camel-back.  And that he read people were also using the pocket for iPads or wallets, because of it’s safe location nearest the back.

This thing is seriously light as a feather and has the organizational skills of Martha Stewart.  Chris transferred almost everything he had in his other bag and even with everything we need it still looks and feels as it is empty.  It’s really compact, has 4 pockets and a bunch of loops and tethers to hold hand sanitizer, toys, Nuks (pacifiers), diapers, wipes, changing pad, bottles, formula, extra change of clothes, shoes, blankets, and whatever else you may need for your 2 hour adventure.   The price was right too. On Amazon it is currently $49.97 with free Prime shipping. Chris has purchased 2 diapers bags and still hasn’t met the price that mine was. *Hangs head in shame*

Here’s the dipey bag in action my friends…

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For all of you keeping score…Photo Jan 03, 7 23 11 PM

Rings, Hand sanitizer, Sunglasses, 3 pacifiers, 3 bottles, Burp cloth, Snack catcher, Three inno-baby snack containers, 2 Plum pouches with spoon, 2 Mum mums, Tommee tippee rubber bib, Small pack of wipes, Changing mat, 3 diapers, Small tubes of dipey rash cream, Dragonfly toy, Jacket, Football toy, Wetbag, Change of clothes

We’ve only used it a day or two, but I would definitely recommend this bag for any new dad!  Trust me, you will end up hauling everything except the kitchen sink around with you when you first become a parent.  This bag will get you where you need to go. =)

Any other Daddy Diaper Bag recommendations? I’d love to hear it!

My Itsy-Bitsy Spider!

Normally, we do absolutely nothing for Halloween.  Strike that. We get zero trick-or-treaters, but we buy candy anyway.  We buy pumpkins and don’t carve them.

This year, things are a “little” different.  We have a kid.  Which means all holidays are to be celebrated.  This year for Halloween we thought we might dress up Oscar as a squirrel.  My sister-in-law suggested it and I loved the idea.  His chubby cheeks scream squirrel! I found a Pin of a DIY squirrel costume, however I lost steam on the project shortly after buying a sweater at a thrift shop.  A week before Halloween I had no costume for the little dude. Worst mother ever.  Lo and behold, in came in Auntie Lynne to save the whole darn holiday.

This little gem of a headband arrived in the mail! SO ADORABLE I COULD BARELY STAND IT!

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My idea of how I would incorporate the spider headband morphed completely in about 2 days.  It started with my idea of dressing Oscar in black and then wrapping or hot gluing spider webbing (the kind that you buy at Halloween stores) onto his onesie and pants.  However, when I read the back of the bag and it said, “Do not use on babies or children” and that it had “13,000 filaments” I decided it would probably not be a good idea to use it on him.  He does LOVE to put anything in his mouth these days, and the whole thousands of filaments notion had me envisioning him choking on the webbing.  Eek!

My next idea was to paint spider webs onto his black sweatpants and onesie with fabric paint.  Eh, too much work and I suck at drawing.

So, I researched baby cob web costumes and found this one on Etsy.  Only problem: sold out and 3 days before Halloween. So what’s a mom to do?  Get her husband to run to Joann’s on his way home and gather supplies.  Thanks sweetie!!!!!!

Without further ado…. Oscar’s Itsy-Bitsy costume in pictures.

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First step, make yourself a compass of sorts, using a skewer and fabric pen. FYI don’t use yarn because it’s super stretchy and you’ll never get an even circle.

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With some easy algebra, cut out a big circle of felt, then measure and cut a smaller circle in the middle for baby’s neck.

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Get some help from what’s called a “xerox mitten” and lay out your yarn in vertical stripes first, then horizontal circles.

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Tack down the yarn strips with needle and thread. I tacked at the top and bottom. Then at each meeting of horizontal and vertical yarn.

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Add a snazzy label- courtesy of Spoonflower with Inspired Domesticity’s logo.

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To get this look, stay up way past your bed time after swimming.

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TA DA!!!!!

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Dressing Baby at a Discount

Chris and I came from mothers who dressed us in good quality clothing!   Places like Nordstrom and Stride-Rite.  My mother always brags about how I used to “model” for Nordstrom.  Let’s not go overboard, it was really just a 10 minute kids fashion show…in the store…when I was like six.  I, of course, thought I was hot stuff at the time.  I suppose Oscar has a lot to live up to in the fashion department. My aunt and mother are very fashionable women, so it’s pretty much a requirement that my child be the same, right?

When we found out we were pregnant it was probably the first time I’d really paid any attention to the cost of baby clothing.  I drooled at the Janie and Jack storefront, grazed my hand across the soft, gorgeous ensembles.  Imagined all the fabulous places my child would go dressed in his stunning attire.

It’s super cute, and probably totally worth the money!

Then I looked at the price tag. $49 for an Argyle Sweater.  Hmmm… For 3 months? When he’ll probably spit up on it 2.2 seconds after I put him in it? And would I really going to be going out dressed to the nines, three weeks post-partum?  I make good money, but I couldn’t get myself to spend that much on something he’d only be in for a fraction of a year!

My sister-in-law shopped consignment a bunch before and after our niece was born.  Growing up a spoiled only-child, I had preconceived notions that consignment meant hand-me downs, dingy leftovers, and raggedy patched up jeans.  I quickly learned that you can get good quality, hardly worn, really cute suits for babies at both consignment stores and sales.  I totally understand it now! Oscar had the most adorable suit that my mom bought for him before he was born.  Super cute Carter’s sweatsuit with a little locomotive on it.  HE WORE IT ONCE!  ONCE! I almost cried the day I couldn’t get the little jacket on him.

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Carer’s Retail-this outfit was probably $23-29.   I’ll be selling it for $9.  WHAT A STEAL!!!

On second thought, maybe I’m not ready to part with this yet.  =)

Not to paint a completely rosy picture because there can be some pretty horrendous things at consignment sales.  Things you’re not sure should even be allowed on the racks. However, I saw some of the really cute things that my sister in law was able to get for next to nothing.  Onesies for $1.50, pants for $3-4, complete outfits for $10!    Once we found out we were having a boy, Chris and I hit the consignment sales hard.  I thought we might be going a little overboard, but I think we truly used everything we purchased.  For instance, look at these two cute suits we got for him.  I can’t remember exactly but I’m pretty sure each were under $12.00.

consignment post

Benetton Baby: Plaid Button Up, Long Sleeve Red Tee, and Black Corduroys! In excellent condition!

Benetton Baby: Plaid Button Up, Long Sleeve Red Tee, and Black Corduroys.   All in excellent shape!

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Baby Gap: multi-color long-sleeve thermal onesie with velour corduroy arm pocket, 1969 dark wash jeans. PERFECT CONDITION! Shoes aren’t consignment- but Genuine Kids by Osh-Kosh for Target ($14.99)

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It’s only now that he’s 7 months old that we are starting to buy a lot of our items new.  So, we’re really looking forward to the big consignment sale next weekend.  We’ve gone a couple of times. Once was last year after we found out we were having a little boy.  Chris practically begged to come with me, which almost made me hit the floor from surprise.  Turns out he loves shopping for Oscar!  At the Creme Brulee Kids Consignment Sale they give you reusable shopping bags to stuff full of wonderful finds. Stuff we did!  So much, we had to go through it all when we got home to remember what we had bought.  This year I’ll be a shopper AND consignor!  The thing I love most about this sale, as opposed to others, is that there is NO admission fee and there is always free parking!  And most of the items are higher end- like Janie and Jack, Gap, Gymboree, and Naartjie, and other wanted high-end brands. They usually have two sales a year, one in the spring and fall.  This particular sale has always been organized, the checkout staff has always been really friendly.

Here are the details:

Creme Brulee Kids Consignment Sale- October 10th-12th

Kent Commons (located near the Regional Justice Center), Kent Washington

Consignor pre-shopping Thursday, October 10th

Open to the Public Friday October 11th 9am-6pm and Saturday October 12th from 9am-4pm.  

Many items are discounted on Saturday! 

Seriously, check it out!!!  or on Facebook

Don’t be thrown by consignment.  It can be totally worth it!  The best part is, a lot of the items we bought used are still in excellent condition and will be passed on to the next excited family!  

Tell me, where are your favorite places for baby bargains, or consignment?

Elephant Pillows for little ones!

I still have a pillow that my great granny Adaline made for me when I was a baby.  It went everywhere with me when I was a kid (and as an adult- when I moved to college, and back home for a few weeks, and eventually to my new apartment with C).  It was what some parents call a “lovey”, along with my raggedy old wash cloth. I used to swing his little feet back and forth over my nose for comfort, or in more utility style, use him as a little prop when I was sleeping. God help us if he ever got lost!  He (even though it’s clearly a girl) has been repaired and re-stuffed many times and the fabric is practically see through now a days.



A while back I saw this cut n’ sew pattern, through Mama G on Pinterest, that is kind of like Ducky (Etsy Store: JuneCraft).  I never knew these existed, but it looks like my little Ducky is a cut n’ sew.  I took a closer look and he has little tick markings indicating where to cut the fabric.  How vintage!

Cut N’ Sew on Etsy

What I'm assuming are little tick markings from "cut and sew" pattern.

What I’m assuming are little tick markings from “cut and sew” pattern.

What a cute, easy idea to make a pillow for a little one!  Last year in preparation for O I found these little Elephant softy pillows on Etsy.  

elephant softies pattern by RetroMama on Etsy

Please see Retromama’s Etsy store for more softie patterns.

Not a “cut and sew” but the emailed pattern showed everything I needed to make the pillow.  It was a pretty easy evening project.  This was one I didn’t end up throwing across the room, so we know the pattern is a keeper!  I downloaded the pattern last November, and once I saw how easy it was to make Oscar’s, I ended up making two for some sweet little one year olds I know!

elephant pillows.m and t

For a personal touch, I embroidered little initials on the ears for the two kiddos. An M and a T

In my sewing class I’d worked from a pattern, but this was the first time I’d worked with one from the internet.  My hope was this little guy would become the stuffed animal to Oscar that Ducky was to me.  It’s a little early to tell if he loves it, but so far I love watching him on the monitor, or from his nursery room door secretly, flipping it around the crib by his tail.  Good thing the directions indicated to triple stitch that seam. =)

elephant pillow.oscar

I managed to take a few pictures of the process here:

elephant pattern

Ready to trace and cut the pattern

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Thomas fabric cut, Oscar’s completed

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Sewing halves of Thomas together

elephant pillow

Oscar’s ready to stuff!

elephant pre stuffed

Thomas ready to stuff. I loved the polka dot fabric (a fat quarter from Joanns) so I used some for Oscar’s mobile and pacifier clips)

Maybe next I’ll tackle one of these next.  It’s a FREE pattern!  Sea Turtle Softie

Positively Spendid Blog

What little “lovey” ideas have you tackled, or have on your to-do list?

Glass bottle vases for my kitchen window!

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A couple of years ago I bought a little cactus for our kitchen window.  I was feeling vacation-sick for Arizona. It sat in its little pot for a couple of years, surviving my not-so-green thumb.  It was time for it to be in a bigger pot with other succulent friends, so this spring I transplanted it into a bigger pot with other cacti and succulents.   Since then our kitchen windowsill has been a little bare.  A couple of weeks ago it was taken over by new Oscar trainer cups and bottle brushes.  Uh…hold it right there.  I may be a mom, but I need my happy windowsill back.  Fall is coming (as noted by the foggy mornings and cloudy days we’ve been starting to have) and I decided I need something pleasant to look at while spending my time washing dishes.

Back in May, we went to our dear friends wedding in Vancouver, BC.  At the hotel they had 355ml glass bottles of Diet Coke (or Coke Diete for all you french speaking Canadians) and Canada Dry Ginger Ale.  I loved the colors of the ginger ale bottle and, as you may or may not know, I love Diet Coke (or Coca-Cola Light for all you spanish speaking Americans).  So, I brought the bottles home.  Such unique and fancy bottles couldn’t go to waste.

They sat in our kitchen for a while until a trip to JoAnn’s inspired me.  Floral pieces were something like 70% off.  I found a lovely set of clementine colored poppies.  On Friday I found a almost beet red set of flowers for 50% off.

Here’s what I came up with.

glass bottle vases

I took the two glass bottles and put each of my floral stems in them. I like how the ones on the left are a bit taller than the ginger ale ones.  On the diet coke bottle I hung my little lady bug that a friend gave to me for my birthday.  I think it was supposed to go in my outside pots but she’s pretty content to hang out among the diet coke and flowers.  I also took one of my vintage Indiana Glass King’s Crown green goblets that we used for Oscars baptism and re-purposed it for our window.  The IKEA PS tealight holder is broken up, using only half of it on the windowsill.

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