No trip to Seattle is complete without someone getting a tattoo. This trip both Beth and Daniel got their first tattoos. It was a family affair with Dan, Thomas, my sister, Aunt Chris and me all there to witness the event. In the end my sister also decided to get a tattoo. I was feeling very left out but I had left it up to fate (meaning I didn’t make an apt) and the tattoo artist didn’t have any more openings that evening. No worries though, Dan and I have a tattoo artist in our neighborhood and I am already scheduled for my orchid tattoo.

Daniel was first on the table, his design ended up being a little larger than he anticipated meaning it took about 2 hours and cost a bit more than he was expecting. I think he was a little shocked by how much it hurt but he held up just fine, not needing any breaks.



Everyone was getting orchids to show their solidarity to Bethany and Isa. Both the girls share a genetic mutation that Shauna and I are carriers of. While it’s not a life threatening condition it is life altering and this was our way of showing our support. I think it is incredibly sweet that Daniel wanted his first tattoo to be an orchid and that he was doing it just for his sister.


Bethy was more than a bit nervous when her turn came up. She was really excited to get a small tattoo and had been talking about it forever. But after seeing her brother’s pain she started questioning it. After several attempted starts only to have her stop the tattoo guy it wasn’t looking like she would go through with it. But she finally pulled herself together and let him begin.


Eventually, after the initial pain, she didn’t think it hurt too bad after all.


The picture doesn’t show it but she’s giving me a peace sign for the camera.IMG00250-20110718-1433


Here’s Beth sporting her new orchid tattoo:


She decided to not have a black outline (thank you cousin Nicole for that idea.) Since it’s in her bikini area and will not ever be exposed to the sun it should not fade away.


Shauna has several other tattoo’s so this was no big deal for her. I think this was the first time that I’ve been with her for one of her tattoo’s though.



Everyone was very happy with their tattoos and there are many plans for future tattoos…far, far into the future!


You may be wondering where are all the pictures of the boys from our trip to Seattle? Well here they are out on G-pa Larry’s boat crabbing. Big Larry, Dan, BJ, Thomas and Daniel all went out to catch us a crab feast.

Here’s BJ putting the bait in the traps. They bait them then drop them all in the water. After eating lunch on the boat they go back around to see what they’ve caught.


This one looks pretty full. You have to use those red things to make sure the crabs are big enough. If not, back into the sound they go. Since there were 5 people on the boat they were allowed to keep 25 crabs.


I think its funny how Daniel is all bundled up in many layers of clothing plus the big heavy coat and then there’s BJ in just a flannel. The weather’s so different than just a few weeks ago deep sea fishing in North Carolina, there you have to worry about getting sunburnt and being too hot.


BJ is an old pro at this, Daniel on the other hand looks much more hesitant about holding the crabs (notice the tongs.)


Why does Dan always catch the smallest creatures?


Looks like the boys have gotten over their fear of the crabs for a photo.


Finally Dan with something a little bigger.


They caught their limit so a crab feast it will be!


Since Shauna’s husband Chef Larry is in Alaska cooking on a private yacht Dan had to take over the cooking. We’re on Judy and Larry’s deck which is set all up for just these type of feasts. It’s a regular thing for them to go crabbing.


Look at the table all nice and clean waiting for the feast.


And this is what it looks like after all the crabs have been cooked.


The view of Lake Washington from Judy and Larry’s deck. One of the reasons I miss living there.


We’re much cleaner eaters at the girls table, that’s mom, G-ma Judy and Shauna.


We missed Little Larry at our crab feast but it was still a wonderful time with family!

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

Another favorite place that we always visit is the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Every time I go I discover new treasures. This time I really focused on reading about some of the strange collections.

Home of the weird, freaky, interesting and curious, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is a licensed museum and gift store. We have been in business since 1899, so we have collected quite the eclectic mix of treasures. We have interesting items for sale like jewelry made with real insects, butterflies in frames, or recyclable wallets. Our gift selection will please with Seattle’s own Glass Eye Studio’s hand-blown ornaments and paperweights and Northwest Native American hand carved totem poles and masks. We also have fair trade gifts from Africa and Asia.

Our museum of oddities and curiosities range from genuine mummies and shrunken heads (tsantsa), to a two headed lamb, to a four legged chicken. Our miniature collection comprises of a display of fleas in dresses, paintings on the heads of pins, and the Lord’s Prayer written on a grain of rice.



And here is the lady writing on the rice, Beth and her friends each got a necklace.


This was in the case by the front door, very handy for those that are travelling up to Forks to visit the Cullins.IMG_2948

And for those that say Mermaids don’t exist, here is taxidermically stuffed mermaid.


Some things are more authentic than others, such as the 2 mummies that the store has on display both of which are completely real…

and shrunken heads from the Amazon (some of them definitely genuine, others probably not.) I’m hoping the ones I’ve bought for Daniel in the past are not real.


Feeding the Seagulls

One of our favorite Seattle things is going to Ivar’s at the waterfront and feeding fries to the seagulls. You have to watch where you sit while eating your food since there are quite a few bird flying around. On this trip Beth got hit by a fly by poop that was shot at her arm while eating.

As the sign states, “Do not be afraid of overfeeding, Seagulls are Dainty eaters.” Well I’m not sure if they’re really dainty, I think they would eat you fingers if they were given the chance.


Ok sometimes the birds do seem a little scary! Those beaks hurt if they catch your finger instead of a fry.


Did Beth think she was under attack?


The Seattle Gum Wall

Our family has just returned from a 2 week vacation in Seattle. I grew up in Seattle and most of my family still lives there. Some grouping of us travels back to Seattle at least once a year to visit. The kids have made plenty of treks to Seattle throughout their lives, when we’re in town we have our favorite places we like to visit (Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Pike Place Market, Lake Washington, Ivar’s on the waterfront, Taco Time, Vince’s Pizza, Hmm I guess a few of them center around food.) But somehow in all of my many travels around the city I had never heard of “The Seattle Gum Wall.” We were with some out of state friends visiting Pike Place Market when they mentioned the wall and directed us to it. Just down the side stairs from where the fish are being thrown at the market.

Beth thoroughly enjoyed the grossness of the wall.


Don’t worry she didn’t really tough her tongue to the wall.


One of the most offbeat attractions in the United States, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the most germ infected tourist spot in the world.

Located in Post Alley, under Park Place Market, the Gum Wall has its beginning in the early 1990s, when people, irritated that they had to wait in line to get tickets to the theater, stuck chewing gum on the wall. At first, they would use the gum to stick small coins to the wall, but in time, the tradition of the coins disappeared, and the gum remained.

Theater attendants scraped the Gum Wall twice, but gave up in 1999, when it became a certified tourist attraction of Seattle. Now it is filled with thousands of pieces of chewing gum, of any color imaginable. And, as the wall grows, the chewing gum art becomes more sophisticated. You’ll find names written with pieces of gum, and symbols like hearts or the peace sign.

But, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the germiest tourist destinations on Earth. In a ranking made by Trip Advisor, it came in second place, after Ireland’s Blarney Stone.

It was quite an impressive site to see. Now that I know of its existence I noticed the souvenirs being sold at various shops down on the waterfront. How did I miss this in all of my previous trips downtown. IMG_2849


Back after a 2 week break

For the last 2 weeks I have been a bit more lax about what I’ve been eating. I dropped the lemon water in the morning but I did continue with the cran/water throughout the day. I haven’t been eating the eggs but I’ve continued with the smoothies, although not every day. I wasn’t eating as many salads and I found that I was hungrier than before. I think I wasn’t filling up on healthy choices which would sometimes make me grab the unhealthy choices, like tortilla chips & salsa, my nemesis! I pretty much stuck with no dairy, no breads or grains and no sugar. I did add soaked oats for breakfast a few days and I had a white chocolate mocha from Caribou. Plus there were a few dinners out with friends so pina coladas and wine were enjoyed. But for the most part I stuck pretty close to the guidelines. However, there was enough straying that I didn’t see much in results for weight loss. My measurements stayed the exact same and my weight only went down by .5 pound.

I have 17 days until my trip to Seattle and I would love to lose 8.5 pounds by then, not very realistic, I know. So I’m thinking that I will go back on the 2 week (or actually 17 days) Fat Flush Plan, and really stick to it like I did the first time. I’ll add my 3 walks a day and this time commit to using the rebounder every day. I found that I did better with my food choices when I knew they were going to be blogged about, so I plan on blogging my progress again. I excited to get started again, I do feel healthier when I’m following this plan and it’s easier to avoid all the treats when I’m full from veggies.

Making apple pie

We are lucky to have an abundance of Grandma’s. First there is my mom and Dan’s mom both of which live within 15 min of our house. We also have G-ma Judy who lives in Seattle. G-ma Judy is actually my sister’s, mother-in-law but she is also my Godmother and one of my mom’s best friends. So it only seems fitting that she would also be one of my kids G-ma’s after all she’s their cousins G-ma so it only makes sense!And yet that was a bit confusing.


We had the very fortunate experience of having G-ma Judy teach us how to make an apple pie; crust and all. First she taught my mom how to make a pie (why does my mom not know how to make pie?) which turned out so good they made another pie and this time we all learned her secrets. Ok, I don’t think there really were any secrets besides how easy it is.

and here’s my Dad playing with Ann:

So Thomas decided that apple pie is now his favorite dessert. Especially when he makes it himself!

I guess I didn’t take any pictures of the finished pie, probably because it didn’t last long. Somehow we managed to eat that whole, huge apple pie in one night. Even Daniel was amazed by how fast it was gone, he wanted a piece the next day and couldn’t believe it when he found the empty pan.

Designer purses

My Aunt Chris in Seattle has a purse obsession. She very generously would share her bounty with my sister and I whenever we would come to visit. She gave me my first Coach bag, only to have it stolen out of my car at the YMCA a couple years later. I never fully descended into the designer purse obsession due to lack of funds and being busy raising 3 children that suck any spare cash I may have. When my sister moved back to Seattle and only had my Aunt as a shopping companion she quickly succumbed to the purse obsession. Her focus is on Harvey’s seatbelt purses. While they’re a little pricey they don’t come close in cost to a lot of designer purses. I’ve slowly been sucked into the seatbelt purse obsession, getting a few purses as gifts from Dan. One of my secret (or not so secret) covets is the Coach Patchwork purse, unfortunately it is far beyond what I can justify spending on a purse, even at my favorite resale store it is beyond my reach. Harvey’s does have a new line of patchwork seatbelt purses that I have my eye on. However, they are quickly selling out and without any gift giving holidays in the immediate future I think I may be out of luck.

I did just hear from my 16yo daughter of a secret back alley connection to designer purses that we may have to investigate. It seems that a fellow purseaholic friend of ours, who also happens to be a Catholic teen homeschooler, has an inside connection with “George.” A simple call to “George” and he’ll meet you in a convenient alley and open up his van of designer purses at extremely reduced prices. Hmm where do these purses come from? I don’t know but according to my slightly inexperienced but extremely confident teenager they are all “real.” I did see one of these purses at a recent party we had and I have to say I did have some purse envy, it was an awesome oversized purple leather Dolce & Gabanna. I have to admit I had no idea it was a D&G until I heard the story of George from my daughter.

Now the question arises am I brave enough to set up a secret meeting with “George” to investigate his wares?