Monday, November 28, 2011

The Mystery Costco tree

Every year since as long as I can remember, my family has gone up to Rum River tree farm to cut down a fresh Christmas tree. It is an all day event because the Rum River tree farm is on the other side of the world (ok, just Anoka) The trees cost about $40 each, and lately we've been hard pressed to find one over 5 feet tall! We have all been disappointed with Rum River, so this year my brother Mike, (aka "Gooch") and his wife, Ericka, suggested we go to Costco. Costco?!

I'm all for change, and the trees were taller, Costco is about 5 minutes from our house, and they were only $29. Michael and I were totally on board. Save time and money? Heck yes. We still needed to make sure to have an "official" family tradition (for my brothers), but we decided to make a new one. My older brother, Mark, and his wife, Molly didn't attend this year. It was a combination of him being busy and him boycotting the tradition change- those Strickland boys don't do well with change. This tradition change was only acceptable because it was initiated by Gooch. If I had suggested it, it never would have been allowed. We'll get Mark and Molly to come next year :-)

Since we've never done the whole Costco tree thing, Gooch and Ericka wanted to get there bright and early at 9:30 when they started selling trees. They were afraid Costco would run out of all the good ones.  We quickly discovered that would not be an issue, they had a HUGE truck full. The thing about getting a Costco tree is that you can't see what it looks like. They are all wrapped up and shipped from North Carolina. You have to guess what it might look like. Gooch and Ericka asked for the biggest tree they had, and got a good 8 footer. Michael and I opted for a more conservative 7 1/2 footer, and my parents got a 7 footer. Michael and I were lucky ours wasn't taller, because we discovered that we have 8 foot ceilings, and the tree with the star just barely fits in our living room. After we all got our prize "mystery trees", We went back to Gooch and Ericka's house in Eden Prairie for hot chocolate and waffles.

While we were drinking hot chocolate, Gooch unwrapped his tree. Luckily it was the prettiest tree we'd all ever seen! Discount, mystery, Costco tree... Score! Michael and I had a very nice looking tree as well, and from what I hear, my parents is also very nice.

No Watson! You can't eat the tree!
When we brought the tree inside, Mylie and Watson instantly wanted to eat it. While we were getting the base ready, we found Watson gnawing at the top of the tree, yikes!


We gave in temporarily...
Michael and I put the tree up while we listened to Christmas music, the dogs chewed on part of the tree that we had cut off,  and Michael made Irish Coffee. Making Irish coffee is Michael's new talent. Ever since we went to San Francisco and visited the famous Buena Vista cafe where they claim Irish coffee was invented, Michael has been hooked. He makes his Irish coffee using the same recipe they do at Buena Vista in SF.

Michael, Gooch, and Ericka helped me choose which colors to decorate the tree this year. I was vetoed on all my great ideas.  A colored tree (too boring), only green/gold (too packers), only purple with gold (too Vikings), only blue (too Jewish...wait, a Jewish Christmas tree in an oxymoron...) and finally decided to just go with a neutral gold/silver theme on my tree this year, and I also decorated it with some dried hydrangeas from my back garden.

Now that the tree is up, I have to watch Watson closely because he thinks all the ornaments on the tree are toys for him, and the tree stand is a giant doggie water dish. Last year we gated off the tree entirely, but this year he's been pretty good about staying away after we scolded him the first few times.

He looks sweet, but shortly before this picture was taken he was trying to eat the ornaments.

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall clean up




This weekend we did a little fall clean-up, and Mylie and Watson helped....
...well, not really. They actually just played in the leaves, chewed on some sticks, chased each other around the lawn, and drank the water from the bird bath. 



Watson liked the leaf blower. He kept trying to get right in the path of the blower and try to catch the leaves as they blew around him. Mylie was not so excited about the leaf blower and avoided it at all cost. 

The puppies were not very good helpers, but they definitely make fall clean up more fun.


Happy fall!