Sunday, July 27, 2014

Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands

Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State

We've got summer fever around here! Even though we have a ton of things we could be doing around the house, like working on our family room remodel, summer time keeps beckoning us to play outdoors instead while the weather is so nice. The fireplace makeover can wait - we are taking advantage of the gorgeous summer we are having around here in the Pacific Northwest!

Last weekend, Rick and I went up to the San Juan islands again. We love it up there. This time we took Jake and his girlfriend Kelsey and went on a whale watching trip through Orcas Island Eclipse Charters. We've been on their charter trip before and it is a wonderful experience. Captain Dan and his crew are so experienced and knowledgeable that we recommend them to anyone interested in whale watching. One of the nice features about their tour is that they are located right next to the ferry terminal on Orcas Island so you don't even need to drive your car onto the ferry (we catch the ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island).
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State


Orcas Island is such a charming, secluded, beautifully natural island. There are several B&Bs and hotels to stay on the island. Some are close to the ferry terminal but others are further away on the island, like historic Rosario Resort
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State


The day started off a little cloudy on the island, but it soon burned off.
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State

The best time to see orca whales in our area is from mid-May to mid-October, but the summer months is what we typically think of around here for prime orca whale watching. On the day we went, our Captain and crew said it was one of the best whale watching days they've had. We saw tons of whales that day, literally and figuratively! 

Let's just get right to the whale watching, shall we?

Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State


Talk to the tail!
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State


Ferry riders got a treat with this big guy who swam alongside the ferry for awhile.
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State


This fellow has a notch in his dorsal fin. Does anyone know who he is? He belongs to J, K, or L pod. He's not a transient. Many of these orcas are actually known by their pod and have names. Amazing that we can track them so well.
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State


Double Eagle Shot
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State


This eagle had swooped down into the water while the whales were feeding on something and came up with a morsel in its talons, can you see that? I hope he doesn't drop it in that sailboat.
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State


This one's waving at us! I can't even describe the feeling of seeing these beautiful majestic creatures in their own habitat.
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State


The sounds of whales are amazing too. You could hear them splashing in and out of the water and the slapping of their fins and tails. Also, our boat had an underwater microphone of some sort that the Captain could turn on and we could actually hear the whale chatter and squeaks really well. Amazing.  
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State


 Whoa, imagine being in that little sailboat and having an orca whale come flying out of the water towards you!
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State


Here's another fellow diving out of the water (breaching). He's on his right side in this shot. His dorsal fin, which is the one that normally points up out of the water, is on the left side and his two pectoral fins (arms, haha) are on the right. 
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State

There is so much wildlife to be spotted around here, like these seals and seagulls soaking up the sun on these rocks:
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State


If you ever get a chance to experience our beautiful Washington state, I highly recommend a trip to the San Juan islands, especially during the summer. It is natural, peaceful, and simply beautiful. It renews your spirit and makes you happy to be alive, especially when you share a day like this with the people you love. :)
Orca Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands, Washington State

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Family Room Update: The Green Wall is Dead! Plus, Furniture and Fireplace Progress

Family Room Update: The Green Wall is Dead! Plus, Furniture and Fireplace Progress
What does Maggie have to do with our family room makeover? Nothing. She just looked super cute this morning on our morning walk with the daisies behind her. Also, I felt like you should have a cute photo to look at since the rest of the photos have some form of DIY carnage in progress.

I can't believe it's been a month since I first wrote about starting our family room makeover! We've had a jam-packed month but we managed to get a few things done in our family room. To see what this room looked like before, click here. Here's what we've done so far:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy July! Summer-y Bits of Randomness

Happy July! I don't have any one big thing to talk about today, and yet I have many little things in my head so I thought I'd write a 'Bits of Randomness' post, Summer Edition. Strap on your seat belt, I'm all over the place today!

_____________________________

I love cherry season and it's another sign that summer is here! Can you see the heart shaped one? Now that I think about it, they all look a little heart shaped to me. Stuffing my gut with these as I type:
I love seeing hearts in things, you can see more on my Hearts Pinterest board.
__________________________

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Garden Tour 2014

Summer Garden Tour: Orange roses

June is the prettiest month in our garden. All the roses are in bloom and things still look fresh and green, not yet wilted from the heat of summer. I love sitting out on the patio in the mornings, sipping my coffee and enjoying a little quiet time with my dog, and I also like to putter around the garden to see what's new and growing or blooming. This year I haven't been as attentive to our garden as in years past. Even though the backyard has been a bit neglected, it's still putting on a beautiful show. Way to bring it, garden!

Would you like to take a stroll with me and check out what's blooming in the garden today? It was a bit misty this morning when I took these photos so some of the flowers have raindrops on them, but it cleared up and turned into a beautiful day.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Red Velvet Cupcakes for a 25th Anniversary Party

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

What do you think of your neighbors? Are they good neighbors, annoying neighbors, cranky and crotchety old neighbors? Are they noisy with the barking dog or loud music, or worse yet, with the kid who runs around outside screaming that high pitched scream at the top of their lungs (you know the one) for hours on end? Maybe you don't even know your neighbors. Well let me tell you about the people in our neighborhood, particularly the ones right next door to us, Mark and Marla, who threw a really fun party last night at the local golf club to celebrate their 25th anniversary. SO fun. Let's just say there was so much dancing happening that I'm actually sore this morning...

Friday, June 20, 2014

23 Ways to Transform Walls with Paint and Pattern

23 Ways to Transform Walls with Paint and Pattern | Lilikoi Joy
Hello and Happy Friday to you! It's also the last day of Spring! Do you have any weekend plans? I'm so looking forward to this weekend, we lots of fun things planned - from a 25th anniversary party for our awesome neighbors M&M, to hanging out with my sis, to continuing the family room update. I'll fill you in on some of the happenings later next week, but right now I want to talk about painted patterned walls! I recently curated a Paint Patterned Walls board on Hometalk and found so many amazing and creative patterned wall projects there that I wanted to share them here with you. For more details on each of these amazing walls and more, click on the collage image above or go to my Paint Patterned Walls board where you'll find a link to each of these patterned wall ideas and more. People are so creative. I love that. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

One Cake to Feed Them All: Lord of the Rings Eye of Sauron Cake

One Cake to Feed Them All: Lord of the Rings Eye of Sauron Cake

Are you a Lord of the Rings fan? Then you probably know about the Eye of Sauron (you can google an image of it if you don't know what it is). I won't go into all the details of life in mythical Middle-Earthdom (because I don't actually know), but let's just say Sauron is a super evil dark lord bad guy who wants to rule Middle Earth. The flaming eyeball in the movie belongs to Sauron and could see everything, especially the whereabouts of the One Ring, which had dark powers that were tied to Sauron. As long as the One Ring continued to exist, so did Sauron, and of course, the good guys figured out that if they wanted to live in a happy hobbit-y world, they would need to destroy the One Ring or be dominated by the will of Sauron forEVerrr. Or something like that.