Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Trip Up North

It's been very hectic since we got back from our family trip up north, but I wanted to finally share some of the pictures of the trip!
This was the first year we decided to make the trip from near Detroit all the way to the Houghton area of Michigan in one day...with potty breaks, lunch and stops for gasoline, that was a 12.5 hour drive. That's a lot of time in the car for everyone, but we survived. Everyone was excited for this view:
Hurray for the Mackinac Bridge! (That's pronounced mack-i-naw for you non-Michiganders! lol) Its a total of 5 miles long, and is the largest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere (until 1998 it was the largest in the world). It's also led to some fun lingo, as people from the lower peninsula of Michigan are known as "Trolls", because we live "under the bridge" while people from the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) are "Yoopers". We love the bridge, and as soon as the kids see it, they start to cheer. It also marks the approximate halfway point of the trip, which makes me cheer too!
You can learn more about the Mighty Mac here

It was a hot, sunny week. A perfect excuse to run through the sprinklers...
And spend lots of time in the lake across the street from the house!
The kids turned into little fishes as they gathered shells, paddled and splashed in the water. This part of the lake is rather rocky on the shoreline, so the kids took to wearing their flip flops as they were wading - smarties!

There was lots of fishing each day from the dock ...nothing was better than fresh caught fish! We caught a total of 6 small mouth bass that week, not too shabby considering we didn't have a boat to be able to fish further out where more of the fish were.

We played lots of hands of Uno...
Morning, noon and night!

Some stops at the local restaurants for treats like frozen custard!
A few visits to Houghton & the surrounding towns, which has a long history as a mining town in the copper industry.

Both sides of the main street had these really colorful chairs...perfect for a bit of a break as we checked out the shops!

And a stop at Suomi - our favorite spot for some traditional pasties and a loaf of Nissu, a Finnish sweet bread. By the way, french toast made using Nissu - YUM-O!!! It's one of their breakfast specialties.
The hammock is a new addition to the yard and the kids took all of 5 minutes to figure it out. Here, a quick smooch for her big brother - I love that even with all their bickering, they do still love each other.
A very hopeful boy, saving his spot for the campfire with roasted marshmallows!
And some time just relaxing...which was just what we needed. Watching hummingbirds, having no internet access, spotty cell phone service...good times. I had some time to practise Prismacolor pencil coloring, worked on the t-shirt quilt I am still hand quilting, and reading. I finished The Hunger Games trilogy, read a Young Adult book called Liesl & Po and got a hold of the new copy of Art Journaling. My mother-in-law and I also took a trip to a local estate sale down the road from the house. I was so bummed that I didn't think to bring my camera...the house was so cool! It had been unused for years, and was like stepping into a house from the 1940's or even earlier. Wood burning cast iron oven in the kitchen, enameled cast iron kitchen sink, Hoosier cupboards, Victorian photo album full of cabinet cards, beautiful wooden furniture, spindle beds...I was in love! There was also a log cabin on the property, with no electricity, and another set of very old appliances and furniture. I was so bummed that I didn't have a way to get some of the beautiful furniture home, but I did find a few small items to buy. I'll post photos of my finds soon!
On the way home at the end of the week, we made another traditional stop - dinner in Frankenmuth! There are two famous restaurants, both known for their family-style chicken dinners directly across the street from each other - Zehnders and Bavarian Inn. This time we stopped at Bavarian Inn.

This five year old was loving her dinner...starting with a cup of chicken soup. Then she exclaimed "Yum!" from dish to dish, creamy cucumbers, buttered noodles, cole slaw, chicken, potatoes. Dinner finishes with a dish of ice cream, every kids dream. :)

Even the accordian player was having a good time! I think it has to do with the Lederhosen he was wearing, which Davin was trying to figure out. Actually, he would look adorable in Lederhosen too, but I doubt he'd go for it.

After another 12.5 hour drive home in one day, we were all very grateful for a good nights sleep in our own beds. We were greeted by our very attention-deprived kitties, who forgave us very quickly for being abandoned to each others company and daily visits from the neighbor. After a day off to unpack and get ourselves back to the normal day to day business I was back to work. It took a few days to get back in the groove there, caught up on the 300 emails that were in my inbox (groan!) and just know what day of the week it was. Work has been nuts, but I'll share more about that another time. It's been quite a whirl!
As I was reading this over, I realized a few bits of Michigan lingo has creeped in, so here's a few more...
  • In the Lower Peninsula we pretty much refer to any trip as going "up north", regardless of direction.
  • We use our hand as a very convenient map of the state. (see below)
  • Oh, and we drink "pop", not "soda".
  • We give directions in terms of time rather than distance. (i.e. I live about 30 minutes from Ann Arbor and about 12.5 hours from the Houghton area.)
  • And I've been known to mutter "geez-o-pete!" in moments of frustration. :)
Here's a fun post on the unique Michigan accent!

Here's our map:

I love being from Michigan! :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Travel Chalkboard Book

Today I was at Michaels to look for just one colored pencil and got sucked into their Dollar section. :) Among a few other things, I found a plain square board book. I thought it would make a great chalkboard book for my children to use in the car. We have a road trip coming up, and I'm always looking for ways to entertain the kids so we don't all go crazy in the car! :)

Supplies needed:
Board Book
Chalkboard Paint
Sealer (I used Golden Semi-gloss Gel)
Sharpie Paint Pen

First, I painted a layer of Semi-gloss gel (I used this because I couldn't find my Mod Podge) to make the boad a bit more waterproof if we had to wipe off the chalk with a damp towel. Looking back, I'm not sure it was entirely necessary, but I wasn't sure how waterproof the paint would be.

After it dried, I painted two layers of chalkboard paint on the board. Simple enough!

After that, I decided to add a few fun games for the kids. Using a white Sharpie paint pen, I Tic-Tac-Toe squares, a blank head outline to draw silly faces, and with a ruler created a grid for a game of Dots.

The little one couldn't wait to play with it. Hopefully it will be as big a hit on the road trip! :)

Have a great day!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Our 4th of July celebration

As I mentioned in my last post, things have been very crazy at work. Working lots of hours and handling lots of guests. For anyone who thinks a museum is a dull place, let me tell you, no way! :)
Since I would be working on the 4th, we decided to take a family trip to see the Detroit Symphony Orchestra play at the Salute to America concert in Greenfield Village. The weather was a bit iffy throughout the day, hot and threatening rain. But we went anyway, and thankfully, after a couple of early showers the sky cleared up and we had a lovely evening.

Some clouds behind the stage...a few rumbles of thunder and two showers, but then all was good!
The preshow featured the First Michigan Fife and Drum Corps and the River Raisin Ragtime Revue.

We had to go and check out the vintage canons that would be used later that night during the "1812 Overture"!

A nice couple was happy to take a family picture for us!

Happy girl!

Toothy grin!

Light up toys - perfect as the sun goes down!

An amazing performance of "The Lincoln Portrait" - so moving!

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra performing selections by John Williams: Imperial March, Raiders March, and Supermans March, among other more traditional patriotic pieces.

The concert concluded with the "1812 Overture", complete with canon fire, and then the fireworks began. I wish I had taken some pictures, but my son had decided to sit on my lap as they went off and I just couldn't bear to shift him so I could use my camera. But let me tell you, it was amazing! Watching the fireworks overhead as a world class symphony performs Sousa marches...divine! THAT is the way to celebrate the fourth, with family at your side and great music causing a few thousand of your fellow citizens to swell with pride.

So to all my fellow Americans, I hope you had a wonderful fourth as well! :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Father's Day card - super late!

I know how completely late this is, but I wanted to share the Father's Day card I made. Things have been SO crazy at work, that I haven't had a chance to post on this blog.

It's a 4 1/4" square card. The image is a digi stamp from Mo Manning and is called "Daddy's Shoes". Isn't it sweet? :) I used my Copics to color him up and used a card from the July issue of Card Maker (pg. 48) as the inspiration of my layout. The paper is from the Complete Boy paper stack by My Minds Eye and the cardstock is from Stampin Up. The sentiment was created with a combination of Lawn Fawn's Sophie's Sentiments set ("happy" and "day") and a Martha Stewart alpha set ("Father").

I'm excited to have a few days off to catch my breath from work. I can finally catch up on a few things around the house and enjoy some time with the family. And hoping that some of the heat we've had in Michigan will let up a bit. These 100* days are for the birds! :) Hope the weather has been a bit cooler in your neck of the woods...and if it has, please feel free to send a bit this way!