Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kickoff to SUMMER!!!

What a fabulous weekend!!! First and foremost I would like to say thank you to all of the service men/women who have gone off to fight for our freedom.  We use this weekend to remember those who have fallen.


Now for some fun!!!  Smalls and I got to go camping with his brother and family up north in one of the most beautiful places in our great state.  Petoskey is a wonderful town that is located right on Lake Michigan. 

No wonder why we are called The Great Lakes State, they are magical!!!  We saw and did so much that I wanted to share some pictures with you.

It is about a 4-hour drive up and over the state and this is where the adventure started.  We decided to take the little car over the truck ($4 a gallon hurts) so we packed till there was no more room left.  We did leave a small space for the dog.

We ate a quick yogurt as we walked out the door that morning but by mid-day we were hungry again.  Our options were small for quick eating and we hit the place that makes me super embarrassed to share.  I will just let the pictures do the talking...

Every time we drive north Smalls has to make a stop in Pinconning MI.  They are known for their sharp cheddar, especially this one...

Smalls loves this cheese and it is super funny to eat it!!! It squeaks when you chew it!!! Who knew? This is just another place of Michigan that makes us famous ; )

Once we finally got to the campsite we had to unload and set up.  We stayed for 2 nights and the first night was our night to cook dinner.  We decided to make chicken and steak fajitas.  Since our car was packed full we did not have room for a grill and the fire pits didn’t come with grill grates.  Uh-oh, what do we do now?  Not to worry because the wonderful town of Petoskey has a Wal-Mart.  So off we went to get a $10 grill.  Between us and bro’s family there were 10 of us and 3 dogs!!! We had a lot of mouths to feed!!!  We brought guacamole and salsa to nibble on while the meat was cooking.  I think there might have been a fear we would not have enough chips.  What do you think?

After dinner we went to the beach to watch the sunset.  The kids loved taking photos on the beach with the sun setting behind them.  I am sorry but there are only a few places you can see the sun set behind large bodies of water and we are lucky enough to have that opportunity.

The weather was nice during the day but it got chilly at night.  This was the temperature we woke to the next morning!!!

On Sunday we took a trip to the Oden Fish Hatchery.  This place is amazing!!! The DNR raise trout to help fill inland and Great Lake waters.  These creatures were so funny to watch.  You could toss them pellets of food (it smells and looks like the food we feed our cats) into the pond and they would jump and fight to get it.  

Plus these guys were HUGE!!!

Nighttime is my favorite because we sit around the fire and tell stories.

And of course make...

This was fun little getaway to spend with Smalls and family.  We love to camp and see our beautiful state.  We love the adventures that nature can throw are way.  Sorry for such a long post.  Here is the last picture I am going to share (promise).  We brought some festive cookies to help celebrate this memorable holiday. 

I hope everyone had a great weekend.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Snail Mail in the Extreme!!!

Okay so this month is almost on its way out but before it goes I want to share something super cool with you.  So not only do I like to scroll Pinterest non-stop but I also like to creep onto other blogs and check them out.  So one day I came across the awesome blog, Wifessional.  Kaitlyn was promoting her cool little monthly blogger exchange called Cara Box Exchange (best thing is you do not have to be blogger to do this).  What is so awesome about this exchange?  You get care packages in the mail!!!  Yes I mean the old fashion snail mail with a package made just for you!!!

So I decided to jump on the bandwagon this month and met 2 amazing bloggers on the journey.  See, how it works is you get paired up with 2 bloggers, one to send a package to and the other to receive a package from.  Each month there is a different theme and this month it was a “regional” theme.  Oh boy!!! Michigan made here I come!!!  Once you get your matches, you need to get the ball rolling.  Here is how I did this awesome exchange...

First I received an email from Shay introducing herself (I send a box to her).  I then emailed Gabby to introduce myself to her (she sends me a box).  After that the emails were flowing.  I got to meet some pretty awesome ladies!!!  I would love for you to meet them too, so please check out their blogs and tell them I said “hi”.   

Now for the boxing...
I sent my box to Shay with a bunch of Michigan made yumminess.  I am not going to reveal what I sent her, you will just have to go check out her blog and see what she says.

When I came home on Wednesday (it was a long day), I had this sweet little baby sitting on my porch!!!

I could not wait to open it!!!  Once I dropped all of my bags, let the dog out, I got the scissors and cut it open.  I was super giddy and could not rip through it fast enough.  Look at all of the awesome goodness I got from Gabby!!!  

This exchange was awesome and I cannot wait to do it again (maybe next month).  I first have to thank Kaitlyn from Wifessional for coming up with this idea!!!  I also have to thank Gabby for the fun gift package she sent me.  You should definitely check it out blogger or not.  Hope everyone is having a great week!!!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

1,2,3, Ducks

As we get closer and closer to the end of the school year and the start of the summer, I need to begin getting my ducks in a row...


So far my few plans include:
-picking up the new puppy
-training for the NYC marathon
-writing the first grade math curriculum

Yep those 3 things are all I have planned.  I know my training will be a daily event but it should only consume an hour or two at the most. The new 4-legged friend will keep my on my toes and not allow me to take catnaps during the day. Then there is my mind that will be buzzing with addition, subtraction, fact families, skip counting, etc. but that’s it. That is all the excitement I have.  I am so lame!!!  Last summer I had a wedding I was in, bachelorette parties, 10 days in D.C., packing up and moving my classroom (again), and marathon training.  This summer is looking a bit dismal. 


I am sure the days will change when I have children to take care of and play with but until then it is just “ME” time.  So I have some goals and I feel if I say them out loud (or write them on the blog) then I will actually have to attempt them.

Goal #1 – read the piles of books I have sitting around (maybe 2-3 a month)
Goal #2 – do 2 fairly big DIY Pinspiration projects for the house
Goal #3 – organize the basement
Goal #4 – help my friend Josie out with the Clean Eating Summer Challenge Games (I can get a bit competitive) **I will share more info about this soon


So what are your goals for the summer?  Do you have anything good planned that you could share?  I am all ears and would love some fun ideas.  Hope everyone is having a great week.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Smokin Yummy!!!

Okay it is now time to take the batteries out of your smoke detectors...because it is going to get hot in here!!!  Who doesn’t love blackened fish?  So trying to stay semi healthy we got some tilapia and blackened the H E double hockey sticks out of it (go Wings).  

Here you go...
First you will need a cast iron pan that is super hot (to hot to touch).  I would say about 5 minutes should do it.  On the side, super season your fish with blackened seasoning.  Then toss that baby into your pan and cook the heck out of it for about 2 minutes a side (depending on the thickness of your fish).  My favorite thing to say now is...that’s it!!!  How easy peasy is that?

So you see that asparagus that is sitting so quietly on the plate?  Well that is some damn yummy asparagus and its picture does not do it justice.  I got the recipe for this asparagus many years ago when I used to look at magazines.  I had a subscription to Runner’s World for many years and saw it in there one day.  Me being me I of course had to try it and add my own flair to it.  It is pretty simple and pretty good.  Just heat some oil up in a pan add the asparagus and cook till al dente.  Then drain the oil and add onion and garlic seasoning and Parmesan cheese.  That’s it.

We also added some wild grain rice to give us a starch but that just came from a box (holding my head in shame).  

To compliment the meal we had ourselves a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio.  All I can say is "2 Buck Chuck" makes a nice bottle of wine for $2.99!!!  Thank you Trader Joe’s!!!  Hope everyone is having a good week!!!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Summer's Best Friend!!!

So the sun is out, it is warming up, school is almost done, pools will open soon, boats are being launched, campgrounds are taking reservations, baseball is in full swing and it is time for those pesky, annoying, things to start popping out everywhere you go!!! Welcome to Michigan!!!

Yes that is right, I am talking about construction barrels!!!  Every year we see them and they are like a rash that never goes away, or a head cold that lasts for 3 months.  They make us late for work, give us road rage, and raise our taxes somehow!!!  See we live in a state that makes cars, hence the name The Motor City and we do not offer mass transit like our fellow neighbors (i.e. Chicago).  All of us Michiganders have to drive to where we want to go and these barrels are real pain!!!

See how they are sitting so nice a quietly off to the side right now?  Well in a few weeks days they will be blocking 2 lanes on a 3-lane highway.  The best part about it is that they are on every major highway in our state!!!  I am guessing that when Smalls and I have to drive up the U.P. in a few weeks we will see a dozen sections of these barrels and probably go through 4 construction sites.  Oh I forgot to mention we will only be on I-75 the whole time!!!

So here is my friendly reminder to all of my drivers out there...get your break pads changed, stay off your phone, SLOW DOWN, put your windows down, turn your music up and enjoy the ride!!!

Happy Friday everyone!!!


Monday, May 13, 2013

DIY - Mirrored Starburst

So now that I have a few projects under my belt: couch table, blanket ladder, Eat in pennies, etc. I thought it was a good time to branch my DIY skills into more decorating for the house.  Well during all my previous walks through Pinterest I came across a ton of ideas to do in the future.  For some reason this one really struck a cord with me.  I mean come on who wouldn’t love a starburst mirror hanging in their house?!? So I studied Tamara’s post of her mirror over at the The Jolly James for a few days, did some research and made the decision that I too could make one.

I went to my 2 favorite stores as of lately Home Depot and Jo-Ann’s to get everything I needed.  I followed Tamara’s instructions almost to a T but swayed a bit when it came to a few things.  On the The Jolly James post she uses rods from Jo-Ann’s and hot glue.  I made the executive decision to use the famous E-6000 Quick Hold glue and I got my rods from Home Depot instead of the pre-packaged ones.  After some research I found getting them from Home Depot was my cheapest bet.  The nice thing about getting the pre-packaged ones is that they are already cut at 12” for you, the Home Depot ones are at 48”.  So I batted my eyelashes and nicely asked the gentlemen in the orange apron to cut each rod to 12” so now 1 rod turns into 4.  Now it wasn’t just 4 rods it was 20 and he gladly did it but needed to know what I was making to need 80 rods!!!  The rods were about 87¢ each so at 20 I am knocking on the door of a $20+ mirror…I hope it is worth it!!! I also picked up a can of matte silver spray paint while I was at Home Depot.  I got a 9” round mirror from Jo-Ann’s.  

This is when I followed The Jolly James instructions to that T.  I did measure out every 1/8” to know where to lay the rods and it was fairly simple drawing the lines, but placing those rods was an annoying task.  Since my mirror was 9” I probably should of measured out every 1/9” but didn’t think of that until after the lines were drawn and I started placing rods.  Staggering them and placing them evenly over the mirror was a challenge for me.  Luckily I embrace my challenges such as not being able to draw a straight line with a ruler that I was able to not harp on this imperfection for to long.  I figured it was me that was making this and not a machine and something to the fact that asymmetrical stuff is still considered art so…whatever.

Gluing the rods on was a pain in my ass because the rods liked to roll.  Who would have thunk that rods like to roll. I let the rods sit awhile to make sure they were nice and stuck on the back of the mirror.

I covered the mirror part up before I sprayed which was fun…not.  

I used spray paint to cover up the rods and it took a lot of applications to get the color I wanted.  So a mental note when I do this project again…use a primer first.  Instead of using a picture hanging “thing”, I reverted back to my favorite Command Strips.  I placed 4 on the back to make sure I had a strong hold.

Now where to hang it…I do not have a lot of pictures or "hung" things in the upstairs so I knew it could fit somewhere up there.  We had just moved a 3-legged table to the top of the stairs when we shuffled the living around and it was looking a little bare.  So the mirror found a new home. 

I like this project but I know it could have turned out better.  Luckily I have about 30 extra rods so I might make another one.  Just to see if I can make it better… What do you think? 

During my search I saw this one and this one so I might try one of these instead. Which one do you like best?

Thanks again to Tamara at The Jolly James for the wonderful idea.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Color Me Happy!!!

Sorry I have been M.I.A. this week...but it has been a busy one!!!  I had lots of meetings and other mundane stuff that would have put you to sleep if I would have wrote about it.

Now that it is the WEEKEND I can share some exciting adventures with you.  Well not really adventures but an adventure.  Today Smalls and I got to start our season of running/racing off with an explosion of COLOR!!!  We woke up at the butt crack of dawn to drive back to my old college stomping grounds.  It was cool to be back running the streets of Eastern Michigan University.  I was lucky enough to run for Eastern back in my day so today brought back some fun memories of the girls and I.

However today was a bit different than my normal EMU track uniform.  I was sporting some Nike leggings, The Color Run 2013 t-shirt, The Color Run headband and my DIY tutu in white.  

The whole purpose of today was to start out bleach white and come home looking like a tie-dyed human.  As The Color Run likes to say “Completely Colored Willy Wonka Goodness”.  So how do you think I did?

Smalls actually went swimming in the colors (I am being literal here guys).

We had a blast jogging/walking/laying on the ground at all of the color stations.  Here is a look at how we colorfied ourselves from beginning to end.

The finish line party was the best post-race party I have been to.  They had music, free giveaways and of course COLOR!!! 

We danced, got a free t-shirt (thank goodness Smalls is 6’4) and colored ourselves crazy.

When it was time to leave we went to breakfast in town and that was a fun decision.  So many other color runners thought the same thing and it made the restaurant a colorful place to eat.  The sink was my favorite since everyone had to wash the color off of their hands before they ate their grub.  When breakfast was over, we became a bit sad...

We now have to wait 365 days until we can do it again : (

But that’s okay because I got some exciting news yesterday...I got into the ING NYC Marathon!!!  I have some big training to do since this is a BIG one for me.  My plan is to run one in every state and I have done 7 so far, but New York is on the Bucket List for me.  I only have 176 more days!!!  Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.