Best Scenery In Alaska

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Ahhhhh…Alaska.  Is there anything more beautiful?  Well, not that I’ve seen.

We boarded our Ship on July 31st (my birthday).  On the fourth day of our Alaska cruise we started our day cruising through Tracy Arm for about 4 hours.  This is the part of the trip I had been waiting for.  There is no way to describe in words how beautiful the scenery was.  I think the Naturalist quoted John Muir as saying that “Tracy Arm is Yosemite with Ice”.    So, of course after experiencing this, our next big trip will be to Yosemite.  I know I know, I’m from California and I’ve NEVER been there.  What can I say?

When we arrived in Juneau, we hopped a tour guided bus to Mendenhall Glacier.  Another spectacular afternoon of beautiful scenery.   From the bus, we managed to see 4 bald eagles.  That’s right, FOUR!

To experience the gorgeous scenery of Alaska, watch the video below.

If you’ve been here or other parts of Alaska, I’d love it if you would comment below.  Where did you go and what kind of scenery did you get to experience?

12 Days of Home Projects


While on Vacation in CA this year, I decided to extend my vacation for an additional 2 weeks, while Mark flew home. In the 14 years that we’ve been together, we’ve never been apart, so this was a strange experience. We spoke and emailed every day and managed to survive.

Mark had a GREAT IDEA! While I extended my stay in California, he decided that he was going to be extremely productive at home, since I wasn’t there and Play Station had crashed. I helped him create a list of projects that he could do while he was home. It was kind of a challenge to see how much stuff he could actually do without constant interruptions from the wife, dogs, or video games.

Check out the list of projects.

Call Cat Sitter
Schedule physical
Buy blinds and install in small office window
Get cable box for bedroom
Reseed lawn
Clean electronic air filters
Wash car
Do laundry
Dust bedroom
Water indoor plants
Call trash company
Turn on water heater
Move security camera
Touch up walls
Pick up from Library
Purchase Rescue Remedy for Pets
Pack Miche Bag accessories for return trip
Mail allergy pills
Change sheets
Pack garage door opener for return trip

He managed to accomplish this and much more! He also managed to squeeze in a couple of games of “Words with Friends” at night.  It was so nice to come home to a clean and organized house.  I’m a lucky girl!

If you had 12 days alone, would you do projects around the house?

My Favorite New Store…Home Goods!


Have you discovered Home Goods yet?  On my month long vacation to California, My Mom and I discovered Home Goods for the first time the day before Mother’s Day. What a cool store this is.   They have home furnishings that are out of this world and SO inexpensive. Washington doesn’t have a Home Goods, so thank goodness I bought 5 new Mantle pieces from the store in Simi Valley, CA.

I was very happy they survived the 18 hour drive back to Washington.  The closest Home Goods to my house is located in Oregon.  We will be heading there soon on our way to Cannon Beach.  It’s actually not on the way, but it’s close enough.  This is without a doubt my FAVORITE store!

Have you ever checked out the beautiful decor and bargains at Home Goods?  If so, what beautiful pieces did you purchase?

10 Things To Consider When Seeking Dog Boarding

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This guest post was written by Jewlz Lane, owner of Loving Care Canine Services located in Carnation, Washington.

1. Knowledge.
How qualified are the people who are going to be caring for your dog? Are they in business because they like dogs and find it “fun” work? This is important to know. Playing with the dogs is a “fun” part of the job, no question. But, when 24 hour care is being provided it becomes about the things that can go wrong and how they are handled. In an emergency, will they provide vet care? If so, where will your dog be taken? In a non emergency medical situation, is your dog taken to their own vet? I will leave my dogs exclusively in the care of people with animal experience who have worked in the vet, grooming or boarding fields. Experience with different breeds in all different scenarios, as well as on the job training gives people the knowledge to provide the most complete care. Do not hesitate to ask what their experience is.

2. Secure Confinement. Make sure the property is completely fenced and that there are no areas where the fence is compromised. If the staff plans on taking your dog outside of the securely fenced  property how will they keep your dog safe?

3. Separation. Not all dogs get along. It is important that dogs are introduced properly and that they can be put in separate areas if a problem occurs. This is especially important to know if you own a smaller breed of dog or your dog is less socialized.

4. Food, Medications and Special Diets. It is best that your dog remains on its own food, especially in a new environment. The excitement/stress of new scenery and a change of diet is a recipe for gastrointestinal issues. Make sure you can bring your own food as well as any supplements or medications your dog is on. Many supplements take weeks to build up in the dog’s system, so you do not want to have to start over with a loading dose because they went off them when you traveled. Not changing the dog’s diet  is imperative if your dog has allergies. Some places will charge extra to administer medication.

5. Breeds Needs. Some places have a type of dog they cater to. For example; If the facility is hosted on a property where hunting dogs are raised and trained, they may not understand the needs of your Maltese. For your dog’s comfort, make sure they know what your dog’s specific needs are.

6. Size Matters. Many places in the era of cage free boarding do not discriminate between sizes of dogs that are mixed together. Many small dog owners have voiced their concerns and told me their personal horror stories on this subject. Supervision at ALL times is necessary to insure all dogs are safe. Finding out how the dogs are grouped is best before leaving your dog in a group of unfamiliar animals. In the case of small breed dogs, things can go sour quickly in a group with all sized dogs if an issue arises. For a mid to large dog, it may mean an injury. To a small dog it could mean their life.

7. R&R-Dogs, especially single family dogs, are not used to going full throttle in a pack all day long.  They need a place to rest and recharge. They should have ample time to digest their food before returning to the group for more romping. Having a crate or area where they can eat and relax is a good thing to have provided for them.

8. Comfy & Cozy. What is your dog’s home environment like? If your pooch is used to sleeping on your bed or on a dog bed on the floor, it will be a rude awakening for them to be staying in a standard kennel when you travel. If your dog sleeps happily and is secure having a crate, sending them to a facility with no crates can cause anxiety. The idea is to provide them something close to what they are used to. There are many new and creative types of boarding establishments as well as pet sitters to serve today’s modern dog.

9. Exposure. Does your dog eat rocks? Is it a breed known for its lack of water skills? Is he a gulper of all things not nailed down? Does he have adverse reaction to certain types of food or treats? When you visit the place you are considering, make sure the environment is one that your dog will thrive happily in. If your dog is a rock hound, a place with paths of river rock may not be the best choice. Study the environment and make sure there are no apparent dangers your dog will be exposed to there. Also, ask what treats are given. Rawhide is known in the dog community as a treat with a high choking rate. It is inexpensive and sometimes handed out to keep the dogs busy. Dogs should not be given treats like this at all, IMHO, but especially, when they are not 100% supervised.

10.The Meet & Greet. If you are not personally referred to a boarding business by a trusted friend, then you most certainly should visit the place BEFORE the actual boarding stay. Set up an appointment and take your dogs to visit the place. Notice their reaction and yours. Do you feel comfortable and would you enjoy spending time there in the setting and with the people and dogs you meet? Come prepared with as many questions as you can think of. Collect a pamphlet or business card for future contact and so that you will have the business hours and guidelines. (Also can be done online) Make sure you can bring your dogs necessities and that they can remain on their own food. The visit should be a pleasant one where your dogs and you feel welcome.  Also, as you are doing your research, you may realize that an in home pet sitter /house sitter is a better option for your dog. Dogs with severe separation anxiety, fragile health, or extreme behavioral issues may not find a good fit away from their home environment.

It is important to put your dogs needs first as you study these options so you will find what is best  for them.

What kind of experiences have you had boarding your dog?  Share your stories by sending a comment.

Maui, A Magical Paradise!

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Say GOODBYE to sunshine, tropical weather, and palm trees! I’m trying not to cry, but it’s freezing outside, and snow is everywhere! Time to schedule our next trip to MAUI!  Maybe planning it will drag us through the BONE CHILLING months…cheerfully! We’ll just have to see!

Like anyone else, we have a routine when we go to Maui.  Usually after landing in Kahului, we grab the rental car and head straight to Costco to shop for groceries.  This Costco wins OUR vote for most CROWDED Costco EVER! Did we care? HECK NO…WE WERE IN MAUI!

We started each morning walking to Kaanapali and strolled around in the afternoons which many times included a trip to Starbucks in the Lahaina Cannery Mall. We also visited some of our old stomping grounds such as Bubba Gumps, Kapalua Ridge (our honeymoon spot) and Blowhorn for picture taking as well as a trip to the Aquarium and a Luau.

Our NEW Favorite is the Plantation House.  Check it out as well as a few more of our favorite things below:

Fav View – The Plantation House
The Plantation House is beautiful restaurant in Kapalua with a SPECTACULAR view of the ocean and golf course. You can sit inside, open the shutters, and magically be outside. It’s pretty AWESOME!

Fav Sunset Ritual – Blowing of the Conch
The blowing of the conch is a tradition to say goodbye at sunset to end the day and to say Mahalo (thanks).

Fav Walk – Kahana to Kaanapali
It’s important to exercise on vacation. The walk from Kahana to Kaanapali is about 4 miles round trip.

Fav Place for Pictures – Blow Horn
We call it Blow Horn (see the silly explanation on the video).  Drive North about a mile past Kapalua Ridge for some FABULOUS picturesque scenery.

Fav Place to Shop – Lahaina
Downtown Lahaina has loads of shops and restaurants right next to the ocean.  Ahhhh…I can feel the tropical breeze now!

Fav store – ABC Store
ABC Store has EVERYTHING from earrings to macadamia nuts. Of course,  I purchased both AND a few other items!

Fav Airline – Hawaiian
Flying was almost bearable on Hawaiian Airlines. The flight attendants were friendly and the pilots flew the plane smoothly. I still don’t enjoy flying though.

Fav Place to Relax – The Lanai at Our Ocean Front Condo
Hanging out on the Lanai and marveling at the stunning view is, by far, the best way to relax.

You can watch the Mark and Kim show live from Maui below. Enjoy!

Live from Maui Part 1

Live from Maui Part 2

If you have some Maui Fav’s that you would like to share, send a comment!

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