Was I Out of My League?

I never win anything.  I mean rarely am I the winner.  I have yet to even win a dollar from a lottery ticket.  But last month I did.  I called into a radio station and won two concert tickets to see Capital Cities and Fitz and the Tantrums.  The concert was a month away and I foolishly thought that getting a babysitter on a Sunday night wouldn’t be that difficult.  My husband and I could finally have a date night!  yay!

Yeah, well, no babysitter meant no date night, but maybe I could find a friend to go last minute……crickets chirp…….so I was left with a very uncomfortable feeling.  I never win anything.  I can’t afford to pay for concert tickets, it’s a frivolity that our budget doesn’t always allow.  So, do I dare go to a concert downtown Detroit alone?  I hated that I was missing it yet I could feel the resignation of a life less lived settling in, an all too familiar feeling……I have always thought about the regrets in my life as mostly things I wish I had done.  I hope to teach my children that as well….to ask yourself “Will I regret this if I do not do it?”  So I had to ask myself the same thing.  And the answer was yes.

So I go.  I weasel my way up as close as I can without being squished and possibly groped by a desperate hipster who has mistaken me for a cougar. Meow.  I could not have found a better spot as I sidled myself up next to a few ladies and proceeded to enjoy the music.  I realized I was getting old as I wished for a place to sit in between sets and my back started to ache.  I also noticed that I was really listening to the music and enjoying its capabilities to transport me.  The hornist (is that a proper term?) for Capital Cities was phenomenal and sounds just as good live, if not better than on the track.  Here is a little taste:


Don’t believe me?  Here it is live from the concert I was at, and no that is not me singing.


The horns reminded me of the olden days of Duran Duran and the Rio album.  Sublime.

But the headliner is who got me going and who got me to call in to the radio station to begin with.  The female vocalist is amazing and soulful and lyrically they got it right on!


And one more….because the lead guy reminds me of the 80’s. Love.


What most impressed me was how incredible both bands sounded live.  Maybe even better than on the radio.  There are a few artists that I have heard live and found them just as good if not better then on the radio.  It is a sure sign of true talent in my opinion.  So no regrets.  I danced by myself amongst a bunch of 20 somethings and it felt great.  Thankful in my old age that what anyone thought of me was far behind me and yeah, I would totally do it again.

Breaking Amish

How exactly did I get this busy?  I never finished blogging about summer and along comes fall.  It’s November 4th already???  Well, I will tell you one thing.  If I have not been very proficient in my blogging, I have been proficient in doing one thing.  Each month, I am for mid-month, I bake/make something.  Something I may have never done before, or something I have not done in a long time.  I started the adventure  in september with bread making.  it was an overall success, if not boulangerie worthy.  I didn’t take pictures of the process, but enjoyed it enough to try it again and will document it when I get time to do it.

This past month I attempted applesauce.  we took our annual trip to an apple orchard and plundered the trees to bring home a 1/2 a bushel of apples.  I won’t talk about how many we ate while out in the field….

Applepick Applepicks2 Applespicks1 Kids LuLu AppleNow the applesauce recipes I read all stated that one would peel the apples as part of the preparation.  However, my dear friend whom grew up in Eastern Germany, (yes they used to be divided and a communist state!) stated that once they are cooked, the skin will easily come right off when you press the pulp through the sieve. Hmmm….. well I am perpetually lazy so no peeling! So this is how it all went down……

ApplesFirst you get a bag o’apples, about 4 pounds worth.

Apples2Let them soak for 10 minutes in a mixture of cold water and vinegar-to clean them.

Apples3Slice and core. Slice and core. Slice and core….

Apples4Toss them in the pot.

Apples5Add cinnamon stick, sugar, dark brown sugar, lemon peel and lemon juice.

Apples6Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes.

Apples7Scoop and pour and smash and pull out skin and smoosh and sigh a lot.

Apples8pour into jars.  The end.


Overall, applesauce making is sticky.  If you are not Amish, perhaps you should avoid this.  If you enjoy peeling apples maybe you are Amish.










Against the Wind

And so the adventure began.  we travelled across the Mackinaw bridge under a wind advisory.  We were only allowed to drive 20 mph over one of the longest suspension bridges.  It is amazing how oblivious of potential death kids can be.  I was acutely aware.  So much so i was sure I was going to throw up.  Obviously we survived and hit up a meet and greet with Paul Bunyan and his great ox Blue



Like I stated in my previous post, the weather had turned to a brisk 64 degrees fahrenheit.  However, it did not deter us!  Next stop?  Tahquamenon Falls!

_DSC0343 _DSC0346 _DSC0348 _DSC0366 _DSC0370


Since it wasn’t getting any warmer and we were already in the upper peninsula, we drove a little bit further north and headed to Whitefish Point on Lake Superior. It was incredibly windy, choppy and cold.  As we are true adventurers, it did not deter us!  Rowen even met a little friend!

_DSC0387 _DSC0384 _DSC0389 _DSC0397 _DSC0402 _DSC0404 _DSC0427 _DSC0428 _DSC0434 _DSC0436 _DSC0440We wrapped up our day and headed back south.  Along the way you could really feel the isolation and the “wilderness” of the UP.  we dd not see much for wildlife besides some cranes along the side of the road, however, this left an impression:

porcupineI call this image “Porcupine’s Revenge”.  Dead porcupine and a car with two flat tires. Ha!



One of my favorite images.

We headed back over the Mighty Mac and got back to camp in time for an enchanting sunset.  Thankfully the wind advisory was done and I was able to take some pics of the bridge.

_DSC0464 _DSC0480 _DSC0487 _DSC0490 _DSC0518 _DSC0519 _DSC0526Good night!





Summer Adventure Continues……

So we continue on the odyssey of the solo camping trip with the children…….  This is LuLu helping set up the tent._DSC0205



Not too bad if I say so myself…..

_DSC0237Our first moring!



_DSC0215Our view…..



_DSC0236Our neighbors.  We need to get that one next time!


We took in some beach time…



And a bit of putt putt…





The next night was the night of the thunderstorms.  The thunder woke me about 1:00 am and by 2:00 am I had to go to the bathroom really, really, really bad.  So I got up and braved the elements to pee int he woods, only to find it lightly misting, so I bolted to the bathroom.  Of course, when I got back the rain and thunder had stopped, but the wind kicked in.  I was sure that we were going to be blown away.  I was awake until 5:30 am.  We got up the next morning and it was 52 degrees out and this is what LuLu thought would be good to wear!

_DSC0311But the sky was blue and held the promise for an adventurous day ahead!






Grand July!

In came July.  We spent a day at the lake with my brother to celebrate the fourth and then later in the month, I, by myself, decided to take my youngest three kids camping.  In a tent.  Many people called me brave to do this by myself.  I really did not think that that was all that courageous.  What really tested my courage was the thunderstorm that rolled through and driving across the Mackinaw bridge with a wind advisory.  Do you know that when there is a wind advisory the speed limit is 20 mph?  Its like, let us make sure that if you get blown off this bridge that is the third longest suspension bridge, in the world,  that you do so in slow motion so we can get really news worthy footage.    In any case, we had a lot of fun, despite the night that I was awake the whole night because I was sure we were going to be struck by lightning or a tree was going to collapse on us while all the kids slept right through it.  Here are some images of our grand July!

_DSC0058 _DSC0083 _DSC0097 _DSC0137 _DSC0183

Our camping trip started with a stop in Oscoda to visit with our old neighbors and then off to Alpena for the first night in a motel.

_DSC0053 _DSC0074 _DSC0080 _DSC0094 _DSC0098 _DSC0105 _DSC0155 _DSC0169 _DSC0175 _DSC0182I think I’ll make you wait for the rest of the camping pics…..

Summer Synopsis, I

Hello out there!!!!  Oh my goodness, I had no idea how long it has been since I was actually posting.  What happened to me?  Oh yes, I remember, life.  Not an overwhelmingly exciting full of exotic adventure, but just rather life.

I hope everyone was able to squeeze out all the joy of summer and then can some for mid January.  This is the first back to school year where I really was not super organized.  I made up for it in a weeks time, but I guess my heart was not in it.  However, the last two weeks of summer, with my kids staring at me,  with an occasional wide eyed blink, made me realize that perhaps they needed to be at school.  Or somewhere else.

Our summer did not have a grand vacation, but rather a couple of adventures.  I had a couple of my own, as well.  We had too many to just sum up in one post, so I will inundate you, repeatedly, with antics of our summer.  Aren’t you lucky???

School’s out and Rowen has a birthday and a piano recital. We have a neighborhood pool party and India wraps up her gymnastics career.

_DSC0436 _DSC0446

Say hello to Enderman.  enderman, say hello to everyone!



_DSC0449 _DSC0457


_DSC0551 _DSC0553

Not sure if he looks more like Mozart or Beethoven….


_DSC0635 _DSC0651 _DSC0653 _DSC0681


This guy, or girl, hung around most of the summer in one of our flower beds.  The one right next to the driveway, where I park my car and when I would get out in the evening  he would scamper around inside the leaves and scare the crap out of me.  I am pretty sure he was giving just what he was getting.  Touche, little turtle.



Olympic hopefuls can now relax, Miss India is opting to head back to horseback riding.




Stay tuned for when the excitement never ends……



Sometimes there are places you go, places where you have never been, that feel like you’ve been there forever.  That hundreds of lives have been lived and love and joy spread through the cracks and the beams and the air.  My friend Aimee’s family cottage is a place just like that.  Everything is old, yet everything is filled with life.  Everything in it a found treasure, or something discarded but given new purpose.

A place where around every corner, a surprise awaits.

Where treasures are found…..

And where the sun sets slowly, as if it does not want the day to end anymore than you do.

Sometimes you find that kind of place.  And when you do, you realize its not the place as much as it the people.  Love you, Aimo!





Catch Up #2

I can’t believe I have to do a part 2 to this.  I promised myself I would not fall behind again.  Its a good thing I am so easy going.  I really only cared for a short bit.  Now if I promised someone else, well then I would have felt bad for a little bit longer than that.

So we missed about 3 weeks of challenge posts.  I did in fact take the photos, they just never made it to the blog.  Flickr yes, the blog, no….The first missed was the topic “Mother”.  Pretty simple.

The second was “Dirty”.  It could have gone in so many directions, but I am all about capturing my here and now and dislike contrivances. SO my here and now, dirty.


And lastly, “Motion”, which normally would have to be contrived, but this was happenstance.  I love happenstance.

I promise I won’t fall behind again, or at least until it happens again!

Mother’s Day.

I have to track back a bit in order to get up to date and to keep my mildly OCD mind happy.  Mother’s Day is suppose to be a day of regaling your mother, or being regaled as a mother!  My husband was born right around Mother’s Day.  So, as the mother of 4, I get kicked to the side and have to share the glory of one’s birthday.  No big deal.

As I said before, I am the mother of 4 and have no immediate family living any closer than 2 hours away.  We can find sitters for an occasional night out, but an overnight-er?  Takes a lot of help and planning.  So that is what I did.  I got help and planned.  My husband’s sister offered to take the kids for the night and my mother-in-law helped me disguise what was happening with a few good lies and an easily deceived husband.

With the pretense of a family event, we headed 2 hours away, across the state to the west side.  After a few bumbling excuses about getting this or that, I got him to come with me and meander a bit.  It was when I refused to go  where he told me I needed to, was when I let him know I was a big fat liar and so was his mom.  He was sooo happy!  We headed to South Haven, on Lake Michigan.  Here are some pics of the places we went and the time we had.  Which was great, despite the rain.





The Reveal!

We thought we would have missed the reveal, but still would be able to enjoy the celebration.  After a long week of hard work, time and dedication, it was finally done, and finally here.  The neighborhood came out to enjoy the celebration and welcome their new neighbors.  But when we got there, we recognized that we had something in common with the owners.  They run on Pinkel time!  So we had some time to wait for the reveal!

Part of the Kensington Community Church tradition, whenever they break ground for a new church, is to drive a stake into the ground to claim the land for God.  That day, they along with volunteers and a new pastor in the area, trying to start his own church, drove a stake into the ground of the park.  The same park where they host free bbq’s in the neighborhood, establishing that they are committed to helping and giving to a community that so richly needs it.


Jim Pritchard was the director of the house build.

Larry Allen of Grace Centers of Hope.  A wonderful organization and a wonderful guy!

The new pastor in the area!  I can’t remember his name. Ugh.

It was just like on tv!  Only without Ty Pennington!

I was lucky enough to be right in front of everyone to get their faces when the trucks moved and try and capture their emotions.

Behind the trucks were multiple family members there to welcome to their new home and join in on the celebration for and with them!