December 2011: Free Carriage Rides in Downtown Coeur d’Alene!

We just LOVE this part of living in North Idaho!  The STCU is sponsoring FREE Carriage Rides again this year!
Here’s all the info, direct from the STCU Website:

Holiday magic

It begins with a free STCU horse-drawn carriage ride.

[November 1, 2011]

Enjoy the winter holidays with a free ride on a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of downtown Spokane or Coeur d’Alene.

The fun begins the day after Thanksgiving in Spokane and December 3 in Coeur d’Alene. Reservations are not necessary. Bring a warm friend and a cozy jacket… or a cozy friend with a warm jacket.

Don’t miss your ride! Check the schedule for holiday magic below:

Downtown Spokane schedule

    November 25 – December 24

  • 3 to 8 p.m. Fridays
  • Noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
  • Noon to 3 p.m. Christmas Eve
  • Meet at Wall Street and Main Avenue.

    Break times

  • 5 to 6 p.m. Fridays
  • 2 to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

Your free carriage ride is a holiday present from STCU and Downtown Spokane.

Downtown Coeur d’Alene schedule

    December 3 – December 24

  • Noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays
  • Noon to 3 p.m. Christmas Eve
  • Meet at First Street and Sherman Avenue.

Your free carriage ride is a holiday present from STCU and the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association.

Who owns the horse?

Where do the horses and carriage come from? Our thanks to Spencer’s Carriages and Rocking K Ranch for another great season of STCU-sponsored carriage rides!…coeur-dalene-2

Enhanced by Zemanta

Posted on December 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm
Randy and Christy Oetken | Posted in Activities, Community Events, Downtown, Free, Holidays, Idaho, Just for Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Great Video: Digital Story of Christmas

We couldn’t resist!

This video has been making the rounds, and as of today has had more than TEN MILLION HITS on!



Did you know? 

The Oetkens have their own YouTube Channel.
You can view Virtual Tours of many of our listings, check out a tour of our home decorated for Christmas last year, and more.
We will also be posting video of TRAKKER‘s “Firsts” this year and other fun stuff.

Check it out at

Posted on December 2, 2011 at 11:42 am
Randy and Christy Oetken | Posted in Holidays | Tagged , , , , , , ,

ON THE LEVEL: Holiday Decorating Trends

We just LOVE Hibbard Construction’s Blog & Newsletter!  Here’s another fabulous post by Tammy Henry, that we thought we would pass along to you – just in time for holiday decorating!

Holiday Decorating Trends

The holiday season is upon us, and it’s time to crawl up into the attic and bring down those boxes of decorations.  Many of us have been using the same decorations year after year, and some of those decorations may look a little outdated by now.  If this is the case, you may want to update your decorations or add some new twists to your decorative flair.

Two trends in particular have been emerging, with very different themes and looks.  One is a more sophisticated theme, while the other stays more traditional. Here are a few must-try trends that will guarantee a fresh festive look for your home.

Seasonal sophistication

Green and red might be Christmas mainstays, but your holiday decor doesn’t have to depend on these two hues alone. This season, look to more sophisticated versions of those classic shades with some other, more versatile tones.  For the sophisticated theme, the colors are rich burgundies, deep golds, dark cranberry and hunter greens as color schemes.  You can focus your holiday decor on just one color throughout or a mix of two or all four.

Table setting

To really set a sophisticated scene, add a new tablecloth or table linens in these rich, elegant colors. Use solids for the placemats and a fun pattern for the napkins to add interest and depth. Salad plates in these shades mixed in with your standard china add a punch of color, while entertaining new stemware in festive, chic hues make a great accent for your holiday table.

Slip on slipcovers

Add slipcovers to your kitchen chairs or change the cushions on dining room chairs. This is a simple but noticeable change.  This freshens up your furniture without having to buy any new major item.

Accessorize accordingly

One of the easiest ways to incorporate a seasonal theme throughout your home is with accessories. Use these colors in accent pillows on beds or sofas, cozy throws or blankets, vases, candles or decorative bowls filled with ornaments in your chosen shades.

Punch up the powder room

New towels in seasonal solids, patterns or festive trims carry through your look effectively. The powder room is one room your guests will use, so don’t forget about it.

Upgrade your drapery

Change your everyday drapery to your new color scheme. Fabrics like velvets or silks add a sense of luxury for the holidays.

Tastefully traditional

The other emerging trend in holiday decor this season is sticking to more conventional decor elements.  At its essence, this means reliving childhood memories and creating new ones for your family.  To make your holiday decorating a  more interactive experience, get inspired with these tips for getting tastefully traditional in your home this holiday.

Think vintage

Incorporate vintage decorations that have a homemade feel to give your decor a more traditional quality. Also think about using handed-down ornaments from prior generations to really add a nostalgic twist.  “A few ornaments that were your great-grandmother’s, or other ornaments that were your parents’ allow you to share stories of past Christmas get-togethers. 

Get cultured

Incorporate your cultural background into your decor this season.  Using ethnic pieces reflecting a family culture creates a very personal, intimate feeling and pride of one’s heritage.

Do a decor swap

Consider swapping ornaments and decorations with family members who are far away and can’t join you for the holidays. This is a great way to warm up your space and make it feel like loved ones are close by, even when they can’t be.

Incorporate nature

Natural elements like branches, leaves, pine cones and berries make simple, charming decorative elements in a traditional Christmas spirit.

Tie in toys

Vintage toys that remind us of childhood, like red wagons, Tonka toys, and old train sets, can be used as accessories or decorations.  Ask your parents if they have some of yours or your siblings’ toys they have kept, or get a new train with the family that will eventually be used in a future Christmas with your grandchildren.

Whatever your tastes may be, there are a multitude of ways to update and create wonderful holiday decorating schemes on any budget.  Get creative and have fun!

Posted on December 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm
Randy and Christy Oetken | Posted in Holidays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ON THE LEVEL: Finding Solutions for your Storage Needs

Here is another helpful and informative article from Hibbard Construction‘s Newsletter, “On The Level”

Is the solution to your storage problem consist of adding shelves, installing cabinets, and buying wardrobes and armoires?  Well that might be a temporary fix, but the best way to address your storage issues is when you are remodeling your home.

Adequate storage in the home has become a hot topic among designers and remodelers recently.  More and more clients are finding themselves squeezed into homes with smaller square footage and lacking adequate storage space for todays active family lifestyle.

Rest assured there are ways to gain extra storage space that you didn’t even know you had, and the cost of doing it wont break the bank!

Build High Ceilings

If you can’t build out, try going up! Tall ceilings can be used to gain more storage in several rooms. In your closets, higher shelves can be placed above your normal rod for items that are seasonal. Kitchens and Great Rooms can also benefit from higher ceilings because taller cabinets can be installed. Don’t forget the open area above the wall cabinets, which can house anything from a basket of books to speakers.

Add Space in the Walls

Have a recessed cabinet installed! Recessed cabinets are designed to fit between the 16” studs found in most homes. A recessed cabinet can be installed in just a few hours and designed to match the trim already in your home.  Recessed cabinets come in an array of types and styles. Price and quality of materials vary, but the goal is the same: Utilize that space inside your wall.

Add Storage Under the Stairs

If you have stairs, putting deep drawers or cabinet style doors on the side can help you get the most use out of an otherwise waste of space.  You will be surprised at the amount of storage available when you utilize this area.

Plan for Attic Storage

If you are going to have a steep roof or have one already, take advantage of this extra storage space. When you build, make sure the ceiling joists are sized large enough to carry any extra load created from your storage items. ONE TIP – If you install “real” stairs instead of pull down stairs, getting those Christmas decorations down every year will be much easier!

Create Built-in Seating

A mudroom is the perfect place for built-in seating. If you build the seating with a hinged top or deep drawers, you get the perfect place to store your shoes. In a bedroom, you have the perfect place to read a book and hide extra blankets at the same time.

Add an Island

Islands can be great in a kitchen for extra storage, but have you tried one on wheels? If you need more room in the kitchen, you simply roll it out of the way. Have you thought about an island in your closet? If you have a large walk-in closet, why not take advantage of that extra floor space? A small island makes a perfect place for extra storage and you may be able to free up some floor space in your bedroom by not having an extra dresser.

Don’t Skimp on the Garage

With the popularity of SUVs and mini vans, it is important you make sure your new garage will be big enough to hold the family car. For example, the GMC Yukon has a length of 198.9 inches and the Yukon XL has a length of 219.3 inches. If you plan on walking around it after you park, that garage had better be deeper than 20 feet.

An over sized garage will also allow for shelving units to be installed.  This will give you an abundance of storage for your seasonal decorations, camping equipment, and lawn and garden supplies.

All in all, there are numerous ways to gain more storage.  It just takes some creativity and a contractor who can help you identify ways to utilize the space you didn’t know you had!

Posted on September 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm
Randy and Christy Oetken | Posted in Build Your Custom Home, Buyers, Holidays, home, Home Improvement, New Construction, Real Estate, Remodeling, Save Money, Staging | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Memorial Day Weekend: Free Silverwood Admission for American Heros


American Hero Weekend Event at

Silverwood Theme Park & Boulder Beach Water Park


Date: May 28, 2011 – May 30, 2011

Event Description

American Hero Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend – May 28-30, 2011 –

Admission is FREE to all military, police officers and firefighters. Their spouse and children are 1/2 price general admission (only $20.99 all ages) when purchasing their ticket at the front gate.

Posted on May 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm
Randy and Christy Oetken | Posted in Activities, Community Events, Free, Holidays, Idaho | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Browser’s Friends in Cougar Gulch

Browser wants to give a “Howl-Out” to our new friends in Cougar Gulch area.  We sold them this property last year, and we were so pleased to receive their Christmas Card last month.   Here are the pictures of their beautiful family enjoying Christmas in their new home!

We would LOVE to help you find your dream home!  With low interest rates, abundant choices, and  low prices, now is a great time to buy.

Let us help you Own The Lifestyle.

Visit Browser’s Photo Gallery of all his Friends on his Facebook Fan Page “Browser’s BFF’s

Posted on January 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm
Randy and Christy Oetken | Posted in Browser's Friends, Buyers, Coeur d'Alene, Cougar Gulch, Holidays, Home Ownership, Idaho, Kootenai County, Our Listings, Photographs, Pricing, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On The Level: Clever Christmas Card Display

This idea is from our friends at Hibbard Construction:

Fun and decorative, this is a great way to display your Christmas cards.  Use two-inch wide ribbon with the wire in it.  Tie a bow at one end and use a push pin or tack to affix the bow to the top of the window frame.  Gently pull ribbon taught and using a push pin or tack secure the ribbon to the bottom of the window frame.  As your Christmas Cards arrive, use a straight pin or staple to attach the cards to your ribbon.

Posted on December 22, 2010 at 1:20 pm
Randy and Christy Oetken | Posted in Activities, Holidays, home, Idaho, Staging | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

We’re giving away FREE TURKEYS: Do you know someone in need?

Turkeys to Give Away

A recent Windermere food drive produced such overwhelming community response that the Food Bank has approximately 100 turkeys that need to be given away as soon as possible.

If you know of someone who might need a free turkey, please call  like a turkey:

     ·        Please remember to come pick it up on Wednesday morning because we do not have a space to store the turkey for you.

Please call or e-mail us by 4PM Today!

Randy & Christy Oetken



Posted on December 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm
Randy and Christy Oetken | Posted in Coeur d'Alene, Free, Holidays, Windermere | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We Have What Santa Wants!

Here’s What Santa Likes, According to the National Association of Realtors and  But we’ve posted a few suggestions (after the Mag article…) that Santa should add to his Christmas Wish List! Daily Real Estate News  |  December 16, 2010  |  

Rooftop Deliveries: Santa Rates the crunched the numbers and determined the 20 top cities on Santa’s list.

According to Zillow, what makes Santa happy is:

· Percentage of homes with a fireplace (If there are fireplaces, there should be chimneys).

· Percentage of single-story homes (This presumes that Santa would prefer single-story homes so there’s less likelihood of a workplace injury).

· Weather (Snow and clear days are desirable, and rainy days are undesirable).

· Percent of homes with children (Santa enjoys spreading cheer to all the good girls and boys).




 Vintage 4620′ 4/3 Craftsman in Prestigious Historical Fort Grounds. Grace, Beauty, & Charm… all necessary ingredients in this creation. Architectually restored to preserve yesteryear’s beauty with all of today’s amenities.. Relax on the front porch & feel the tranquility as you gaze into the beautifully manicured grounds. Guest Quarters, shop & plenty of parking. Lake, park & downtown nearby.

 Lot size (A bigger lot often means a bigger roof and more room for Santa to land all those reindeer).

The top 10 Santa-pleasing cities were:

1. Colorado Springs, Colo.

2. Wichita, Kansas

3. Los Angeles

4. Dallas

5. Oklahoma City

6. El Paso, Texas

7. Minneapolis

8. Phoenix

9. Albuquerque

10. Denver

Source:, Whitney Tyner (12/14/2010)


Hey, Santa!  Come visit us when you’re done this year.  We’ll help YOU “Own The Lifestyle“!


Posted on December 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm
Randy and Christy Oetken | Posted in Activities, Coeur d'Alene, Downtown, Holidays, home, Idaho, Lake Coeur d'Alene, Market News, Real Estate, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Browser Says: Don’t Forget the Pup This Christmas!

Browser” is howling to all his Peeps:  Don’t forget the Doggie this year! 

And just ’cause he’s such a great guy, he’s found a great recipe site for you to sniff out.   Lots of really yummy “looking” things for your favorite four-legged friend.  They’d probably smell great, too!

He’d also like to do a little growling.  His life has been “no treat” for the past year.  Literally.  A year ago, he was hospitalized for pancreatitis. (We were really concerned about him for a couple of weeks, but he pulled through.)  Poor boy!  Now his diet is very restricted.  No more puppy treats for him…

Sometimes it just puts him in a “down-tail” mood.  If it weren’t for his Friends …and Going Outside…and Snow-Mobiling…his life would be so dull!

So bake up a batch of one of these Doggie Treats for someone you love.  (We’ve included a recipe below.)

And, some time soon, will you stop by our office to cheer up our old boy?

Cluck-A-Doodle-Doggie Treats


2 cups Flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons fresh, chopped parsley
1 cup cooked chicken livers, chopped



Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine flour and cornmeal in a bowl.  In a large bowl add the egg, oil and broth and mix.  Add the flour mixture about 1/3 at a time and mix well between additions.  Add chopped chicken livers until well incorporated into a stiff dough.  Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and kneed for about 1 minute.  Roll out to a thickness of about 1/2″.  Cut into shapes using a cookie cutter dipped in flour.  Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake treats for about 15 minutes or until firm.
Storing Dog Treats
In general you should store dog treats the same way you would homemade people cookies.  That being said, there are two main variables that determine storage time – the amount and type of fat in the recipe and your local weather conditions.  If your recipe uses fats such as butter, or meat bits or juices then it will be more prone to rancidity than a recipe that uses some vegetable oil or shortening.  Your treats may mold or spoil much faster in humid or very hot climates. 
Refrigeration and Freezing –  Refrigeration will prolong the life of more fragile dog treats. Make sure to store in a tightly sealed container or zip lock bag.  You can also freeze most treats in zip lock freezer bags.  Allow to thaw completely before use.

Posted on December 15, 2010 at 11:11 am
Randy and Christy Oetken | Posted in Activities, Browser, Holidays, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,