Home      About Me      Contact      My Family       Travels       The Kitchen       The Bar

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Chalk Board Halloween

I made a cute Halloween project today.  As you know, I don't come up with any of these ideas on my own - all borrowed!

This time I borrowed a project idea from the latest Pottery Barn catalog!

I realized when I started writing on my rocks that PB used really smooth ones - that was a good idea! 
I took rocks from our front yard and painted them with leftover chalkboard paint from this project.

I'm not sure if David will wish I hadn't used our landscaping rocks or if he'll be glad I used them instead of paying good money to Lowe's for a bunch of rocks!  (Or if he's even reading this blog!)

The chalkboard paint is so forgiving.  I just slapped in on with a foam brush.  It dries really quickly so I was then able to flip them over and paint the underside.  I just did one coat.

This project took absolutely no time.  Drying time for both sides was under an hour.  I think this would be a fun project to do with kids at a Halloween party.  Because I had the rocks, foam brush, chalkboard paint and chalk, this project was completely FREE!

I'm in no way ready to let go of the Summer yet and move into Fall but I thought this was a cute way to move in that direction.  The boys came home from school and found them immediately.  Now they're talking about Halloween costumes.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Holland, Michigan

Our last stop on our Lake Michigan trip with Grandma Nan was Holland, MI.  I had heard a lot about Holland and would love to see it in the spring when all the tulips are in full bloom!

See the purple circle for Holland's location on the Lake Michigan coast.

There are a number of Dutch tourists spots and some pretty city parks in Holland.  We spent time at one Dutch shop - Veldheer's.

They have imported Delft (pottery) from their shop in Holland (Europe), and they paint some of the pottery at the factory in Holland, MI.

I liked the nativity sets.

The boys tried on wooden shoes.

But what they were most interested in was a wooden duck that when you walk, it's tail feathers and wings flap.  They chose to pay for this duck with their own money and he quickly became they're new little brother.  They've named him Holland.  (We clearly need a pet)

Here a lady is wood burning Holland's name and the year onto the duck.

The boys were so, so, so happy.  They even strapped Holland into the seat belt between them on the way home.  Really, we need a dog.

Monday, August 16, 2010

First Day of School!

Happy First Day of School!

5th grade - oh, I can't believe it.

3rd grade - Brennan was so excited today!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

101 Places to See Before You're 12 - A Big Dune

A Big Dune

We spent one day on our trip doing a LOT of driving on the coast of Michigan in order to get to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  If you'll check out this map you'll see the yellow line where we drove one morning and the arrow indicating Sleeping Bear Dunes.

The drive was long - we went through countless cute little towns that I would love to return to visit someday. Along the way we stopped several times to enjoy the views.

The boys decided to see where this trail led them.

Thomas scaring me by jumping from rock to rock to rock to rock...

We made it to Empire and then took the Sleeping Bear Dunes scenic drive.

The Native American legend is that there was a fire on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan.  A mother bear and her two cubs went into the lake and tried to swim across to the other shore (Michigan).  They didn't realize how big Lake Michigan is.  The mother made it across, but the two cubs drowned just shy of the shore.  There are two islands at Sleeping Bear called North and South Manitou Island in honor of those cubs.  The mother laid on the shore watching and waiting for her cubs and a large dune formed in that spot.

Below you can see North and South Manitou Islands.

We saw a lot of dunes along the drive.

Beautiful landscape all along the way.

Pretty dunes.  But nothing prepared us for...

...this observation point along the scenic trail!

It is really hard to show in photos how steep this dune really was.  Or how beautiful it is dropping straight into Lake Michigan.

This photo here shows about 1/3 of the way down.

The guy in the tan shorts, white shirt and white hat is standing about half-way down.  That's as far as I let the boys go.  Many families weren't letting their kids go that far.  From that point, it's a pretty steep slope straight down.

Here I am from another observation point showing the portion that you can't see from the top of the dune.  People returning have to walk using their hands to get back up.

But I'm sure when you're down there it's gorgeous!  I would love, love to return with David (and the proper shoes) and do this hike down and back up.  It was killing the boys not to get to do it.

After Sleeping Bear we went to a small town off the dunes and played on their beach.

It was a peaceful weekday afternoon and we all needed a little time out of the car (me especially!)

Thomas built a dam.

And Brennan built the Great Wall of China.

From the Book:
#49 - A Big Dune
A barrier island, a mountain of sand, a shifting desert:  sand dunes take different shapes in different places.  In coastal areas, they're fragile:  each year the sea claims a little bit more of them.  You can look, but you can't walk on them.  Even a little human activity can harm them.  In desert areas, they can stand up to anything.  You can hike up, roll down, or even "sandboard" across them.  And even though the wind constantly reshapes them, they remain more or less in the same places for years.  Lovely to look at or fun to play on, sand dunes are definitely worth a visit.

Mackinac Island

I had been looking forward to Mackinac Island for the entire trip around Lake Michigan.  I hear wonderful things about it, and was glad we were going to get to spend some quality time there.

We took a ferry ride from Mackinaw City over to the island.  The boys were impressed with the "rooster tail" on the ferry.

There are no cars allowed on the island - just bikes and horses.  The streets were lined with bikes for rent or already rented.

We understand there are only 4 motorized vehicles on the island - one police car, an ambulance, and 2 fire trucks if I'm not mistaken.  The major crimes involve picking flowers and plants - hefty fines for even one leaf.

Some of the older homes were so pretty.

This church had to cover their beautiful stained-glass windows with plexiglass because someone thought it was a good idea to put a golf course in right next door.

We took a horse and carriage ride all over the island.  It was a great way to see everything.  They had some really pretty horses.

These were our horses for part of the tour.

Here we are in our official photo - you can see us in the second row from the back.

This is Arch Rock - a natural limestone arch formed during the Wisconsin glaciation period.  That's Lake Huron 146 feet below.

View of Lake Huron from the Arch Rock.

We did not tour Fort Mackinac, but it was fun to see from our horse carriage.

Boy Scouts come to Mackinac Island all summer and are responsible for a number of ceremonies and tours at Ft. Mackinac.

This is the Michigan Governor's summer home.  She wasn't there when we were.

The boys as we were walking around sightseeing.

Get it - the Town Crier.

Thomas at lunch on Mackinac Island - gosh he's getting so big.

Brennan on the ferry ride back

I love this photo.  We did not tour Ft. Michillimackinac in Mackinaw City.  But I love this photo of the Fort and the Mackinac Bridge in the background.

Mackinac Island has 17 fudge shops, 4 veteranarians, and 1 doctor - you see where the priorities are! 
We really enjoyed our time in Mackinaw City and on Mackinac Island.  I would love to go back one day and take David.  I think we'd have a lot of fun on rented bikes, playing on the beach on Lake Huron.  And who knows, maybe even buy some more fudge!