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Keli’s Top 5 House Plants

Over the years I have experimented with many varieties of house plants and have come up with my list of "Top 5 House Plants." 

They are easy-to-grow and only require a weekly watering. In addition, once a month I clean up and clip off yellowing leaves or branches and spray with Leaf Shine. I use the brand Crystal; you can find it at Armstrong Garden Nursery. 

Lastly, every couple of months trim up your Pothos to keep it full, otherwise it will get too dangly and sparse in the center of the plant.

Here are my Top 5....

1.       Chinese Evergreen
2.       Peace lily

3.       Pothos

4.       Dracaena

5.       Orchid


It's Christmas Tea Time: Table Design Ideas

{Christmas Tea Table 2010 - Olive Green, Brown and Silver Color Scheme}

For the past six years I have enjoyed planning and hosting a table at Horizon Christian Fellowship’s Christmas Tea in Rancho Santa Fe. When planning my table design, I begin by choosing a color scheme. Next, I head to Paper Source and see what’s new in name card design and dinner party favors. While I am there, I think of fun ways to incorporate a take home message board or booklet. 

I usually try to incorporate a Bible verse, Bible passage and/or quote that coordinates with the theme of the Christmas Tea and my table’s theme. Once I have decided on the message, I turn my focus to table linens. 

I have found a wonderful linen company online ( that I have used for many years now. They have a rainbow of colors and textures to choose from for linens, napkins, runners and chair covers. This company is very reasonable and is usually pretty close to the price you would normally pay to rent linens.

{Christmas Tea Table 2009 - I was inspired by my Sister-in -Laws wedding colors this year
and went with Burgundy, Chartreus, Gray and Black }

Before I head to Michaels and Z Gallerie for centerpiece ideas, I head to Franco’s Flowers (my favorite local flower grower in Encinitas). I go there to get ideas for the flower centerpieces and to see what’s in season that will match my color scheme. I will usually take a few pictures and then head to Z Gallerie. 

I can always find a ton of fun stuff at Z Gallerie. Z Gallerie is a great place for tablescape accessories, but this time of year you can find similar stuff in the holiday section at Michaels Craft Store too. For example, two years ago I decided on a burgundy, gray and black color scheme and found beautiful black and crystal charge plates at Z Gallerie for $19.99 each and then went to Michaels and found the exact charger for $9.99.

I hope you've enjoyed!  Now, let’s set the table.... it’s tea time!!


A Guest Post: "Getting My Body Back" by Tracie Fossum

My friend Tracie Fossum always impresses me with her ambition and drive, and recently she did it again - she ran her first half marathon after having three children in four years! She is inspirational and will give you some insight into how she did it. 

I especially love her “don’t give up” attitude about her health and physical fitness as a mom! Hope you find motivation in her article and start doing something for yourself today that you have been putting off for tomorrow.  Happy reading!!

My first daughter was born in 2008, my son just 17 months later in 2009, and my third was born in 2011. They are now ages four-and-a-half, three, and sixteen months. After each was born I fought to get back into shape, but would quickly become discouraged. I envied the celebrities that I would see in magazines, clad in their bikinis just months after they gave birth. I would read about busy moms who swore that they didn't have time to work out, but somehow still looked great. I suppose there are women who get their bodies back from picking cheerios off of the floor, but I am not one of those women. I have to work at things. I have to work hard.

I have always been active. In high school I competed on the swim team. In college I participated in triathlons. After college I was an avid cyclist, and for a stint I did a ton of weight training. Okay, maybe the weight lifting was only because I was dating Mr. Muscle and was trying hard to be just as pretty. Over the years I got used to being thin, fit, and muscular. After having three kids, especially in such quick succession, I was unfamiliar with this softer, squishy version of myself.

After my third baby was born I signed up for my first half marathon. The farthest I had ever run in my life was three miles. Twelve weeks after my C-section surgery I got the OK from the doctor that I could run. The very next day I fed the baby, laced up my shoes, and I was off for my first run! I was exhausted, having been up every two hours the night before, but I was going do this. I was going running. Or shuffling. Or limping. Or maybe walking. As I loped along I thought, “Is this the way elephants feel when they run?” “Maybe I should have worn three jog bras?” “Can I still run if a hold my arms over my chest so that my breastfeeding boobs don’t hurt so much?” After about a mile or so I limped home, defeated, discouraged and sore.

I did not make my goal of a half marathon in November 2011. I was up to running only five miles. I was still breastfeeding, the baby still wasn't sleeping through the night, and I was nowhere near being able to run 13.1 miles. But I wanted to, and I believed that I could, so I signed up for another one.

This time I put a training schedule on the calendar. I started reading Runners World and Women’s Running magazines. I put new songs on my iPod and bought a new pair of running shoes. I ran three times a week, three to four miles each time and did one long run on the weekends. Every other week I increased my long distance run by a half a mile to one mile. There were times I had to skip a run, but for the most part I kept to my schedule. By June, I was ready. On June 3rd, 2012, I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon.

I am now training for my second half marathon, this one in November 2012. I have been injured. I have gotten sick. My three kids have all had the flu at the same time. I work two days a week. My advice on how to juggle all of it? Work at it. Work hard. Don’t quit. Be patient. Some of my runs are great, some not so great. But I cherish them. The hour or so that I run is mine alone. I don’t have to worry about being a mom, a wife, or think about all the dishes that still need to get done when I get back. For sixty or so minutes all I have to do is run.

-Tracie Fossum



I was very excited to be asked by the committee at Christmas Tree Lane to be one of the featured tree designers this year for their fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of San Diego. As soon as I received the good news I knew right away what my donated tree’s theme would be, “An Elegant Christmas by the Seaside.”

My designer tree begins with an artificial deluxe Barcana Alaskan Fir. My goal was to have a designer tree for the event that exemplifies West Coast Seaside Chic. Inspiration for my tree began with my handmade rhinestone studded pencil starfish and Hobnail blown glass seahorse ornaments. 

The Christmas tree also features small silver lined mercury glass balls, pearl mercury glass teardrops and large shell ball ornaments.  My wonderful friend Arlene Montgomery and I hand-painted champagne colored glass ball ornaments with vintage crystal key and burlap ribbon.

You will find tucked away in the tree finger coral accompanied by a glass bottle wrapped in burlap and adorned with Swarovski crystals. Dazzling clear glass crystal balls and Capiz diamond ornaments are counter pointed by the natural jute wrapped glass balls.

My coastal tree is delicately wrapped in Sinamay Abaca ribbon and natural and ivory wired fine burlap ribbon I found online at Save-On-Crafts. To make your seaside dream complete the tree is surrounded by beautifully wrapped packages complimenting the juxtaposition between burlap and sand as represented by the refined burlap ribbon.

Merry Christmas!


A DIY Project: Candy Leis

My daughter just had her end-of-season cheer competition and it’s a tradition to give the girls a candy lei at the end of the competition day. I decided to make my daughter’s lei this year and she chose a pink and black Hello Kitty-themed candy lei with white feather marabou. It was not difficult to do and you only need a few simple supplies. Here’s what you will need to get started:

Supply List:
Cellophane wrapping paper (clear wrapping paper)
Curly ribbon
A few different ribbons to go with your color theme
Feather Marabou Boa (3-6 feet long)
Candy (you can use assorted candy in bags or I found that Party City and Michaels has a large selection of candy in different colors that you can purchase individually to go with your color scheme)

1. Figure out the length you want to make your lei.  Measure around the neck of the person that will be wearing it (I used some of the ribbon I have to do this or you can use a seamstress measuring tape).

2. Now cut out a piece of cellophane in the same length you want your leiI made my six year-old daughter's lei 40 inches long by 12 inches wide.

3. Lay out your candy on the edge of the cellophane.  Place the candy roughly 3-4 inches apart from each other, allowing some extra space for gathering points.

4. Roll the candy in the cellophane.  Starting with the side the candy is on, roll the candy so it’s completely covered by cellophane.

5. Gather between candies and tie with a piece of curly ribbon.  I pre-cut (12) 12-inch pieces of curly ribbon to make the tying task easier.

6. Add the extra fun ribbon to each gathering point.  At this time, I used my scissors to curl the curling ribbon and then I cut 6-inch pieces of the decorative ribbon and tied it on top of the curly ribbon. I put 2-3 extra ribbons at each gathering point. {I wanted the lei to be extra colorful!}

7. Add the feather marabou.  At every gathering point, tie a 5-inch piece of feather marabou.

The next time you have a gymnastics meet or soccer playoff, don’t forget to make your child a candy lei in their favorite color or team colors. Life is sweet… candy lei’s make it sweeter!!


A Guest Post: Tara Cole on “Homeschooling Do’s & Don’ts”

I am always amazed and impressed by homeschooling mothers, undoubtedly because I know it’s something I would have a hard time doing. I often ask my good friend and neighbor, Tara Cole, “How do you do it?” She has been homeschooling for four years and has learned a lot. I have asked her to share her wisdom with you and to tell a little about her personal homeschooling adventure.  I hope you enjoy!

Those Crazy Homeschoolers

So when you envision homeschooling, what do you picture? A number of kids delightedly lined up in a seamless row quietly doing their lessons while light classical music willows in the background? Or maybe PJ clad kids running amuck throughout the house while mom tries to corral them for a moment of teaching or a begrudged attempt at hair brushing? I would say either could be our family depending on the day. But most days we land somewhere in between.

I chose to homeschool for numerous reasons, but now I am a sold-out, convinced, fanatical advocate happy to encourage others in the marvelous venture of homeschooling.  We just embarked upon our 4th year. So how did an exceptionally regular mom get started and just what does it look like?

On a field trip to see the mummies
Firstly, I was mentored. I found a mom with four amazing kids, older than mine, and readily imparted as much wisdom as I could from her. She generously shared the curriculum that worked for their family and we ended up using much of the same to this day.

Secondly, I got plugged into a support group called Christian Family Schools of Carlsbad: They offer a myriad of things such as co-op, field trips, P.E., park days, a yearbook, family events, prayer groups, Bible study, book clubs, mom’s night out, and more. Moreover I went to a couple of homeschool conferences to get inspired and to see, touch, feel and smell the countless curriculum options.

I possess no teaching background. Although I’ve heard from my trained counterparts that teaching experience can actually be a hindrance! I don’t try to do “school” at home. I simply educate my kids. I am a self-pronounced fanatical list-checker so I have gathered curriculum that allows me to check off our work each day.  This year I even opted to use It is an online program that allows you to track progress and print out weekly checklists for your kids. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it keeps us on track and impresses the kids to take accountability for their work.

Crazy Hair Day
I am flexible. I discovered that being readily open to change allows me to freely enjoy our school days. Some days we miraculously finish by lunchtime and others we industriously persist until 4pm.  Likewise, what worked beautifully for one child may not for the next, nor from one year to the next. Life brings unpredictable changes and it is ok to adjust accordingly. We don’t let distractions become a deterrent. Life is full of them!

I keep it simple. We began doing school out of a basket in our kitchen/family room area. Now we have a proper “schoolroom” (if you count desks in our bonus room next to my exercise equipment and theater setup), but I still find the kids merrily working on the couch much of the time.

Family trip to Hawaii
We have both good days and bad. But the good nearly always outweigh the bad (I’ve only “quit” twice!). Our family enjoys a unity and bond unlike ever before when I endlessly ran three kids in three different directions (and think – now we are up to four kids!). We plan to shamelessly homeschool through high school (yes I know we are crazy, I relish the countless quizzical looks). But we are excited to raise freethinkers and change-makers. And where I plainly fall short, I am exceedingly confident the Lord will fill in the gaps of this exceptionally regular mom. :)


Top Toys for Christmas 2012

If you are like me and need help with Christmas gift ideas for the kiddos, you have come to the right place. I am a list girl, so this year I have compiled three different Top 10 Toys for Christmas 2012 for each one of my children.  Before you brave the busiest shopping day of the year, “Black Friday” (day after Thanksgiving), take along my list of Top Toys for 2012 for 10 year-old boys, 6 year-old girls and 1 year- old baby girls.  My list is mother-selected and kid-approved:  

6 Year-Old Girls

 6.   LEGO Friends Emma Horse Trailer 

1 Year-Old Girls

9.   Alex Bop & Roll 

10 Year-Old Boys

Happy Shopping!!!