Thursday, February 28, 2013

To The Rescue

For the past few days there has been a freighter just sitting out in the ice in the Straits of Mackinac. It appeared to be stuck...

Then, this morning, there was some activity.

According to our Assistant Fire Chief, Jason St. Onge, the mother of one of the crew members died and the Coast Guard was unable to retrieve him so he could attend her funeral. (My understanding is they only retrieve you in life and death situations.)

Somehow the man got a hold of the Island Fire Department to ask for help. The officers conferred and decided they would be able to assist the man to shore. So they rallied the troops, prepared the ice / water rescue equipment and walked out the the ship.

Once there, the man was lowered down and they all walked to shore. Then, he hopped on a snowmobile and was driven up to the airport so he could get home.

It may have been risky but I'm glad they did it. That's just how the people on Mackinac are - if you need help, they're right there ready to lend a hand. That mind set is another reason I'm proud to call Mackinac Island my home.

Here's the piece from our local news:

All photos in this post courtesy of Clark Bloswick.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

No Chuck E. Cheese - No Problem

Who needs Chuck E. Cheese's when you can
celebrate your birthday by having a sledding
party at Turtle Park instead.

To help our friend, L, celebrate we spent
the afternoon sledding,


and munching.

But the best part of the party, in my daughter's opinion, was desert. She loves dinosaurs almost as much as the birthday girl and her jaw literally dropped when she saw the gigantic box of homemade dinosaur cookies. Having a zillion cookies instead of a cake was genius - I'm going to have to file that little idea away. So much less mess with cookies than with a cake, and moving a cake on Mackinac Island can be tricky...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fishy Fun

The kids and Papa have been spending time recently out on the Grand Hotel pond. It's the perfect place to get outside and have a little winter fun.

OK, maybe the fun wasn't quite so little after all. Given all the fertilizer we assume they use the course during the summer we don't eat any of the fish from the pond, but they're still fun to catch and release. Who says there's nothing fun to do on Mackinac Island in the winter time...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Only on Mackinac

I think Mackinac Island might be the only place you'll see a man on a snowmobile walking a horse.

Well, he's actually not a horse, he's a sweet little pony named Ricky - heading off the Island for the rest of the winter. (But not across the ice! They took him off on the last boat.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

I Wonder...

I took this picture after school one day last week while the kids and I watched an otter play out on the edge of the ice. Of course he disappeared under the ice as soon as I managed to get my camera out, but looking at the ice got me wondering. Some days it looks so blue.

But then, on other days, it doesn't look blue at all. (This picture is from several years ago.) I've tried to notice whether there is a relationship between the color and the sun, but as of yet, I haven't found a pattern. My current theory is that the color has something to do with the thickness of the ice.

Of all the photos of Straits ice I've taken over the years, this one is, by far, my favorite. I took it back in 2008 - The Quilted Turtle hadn't even had its first birthday yet. As I worked on this post I had fun looking back at my old ice photos;

I never really thought about how different the ice is from year to year...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Homemade Character Valentines

It's February, so I guess it's time to start thinking about Valentine's Day. Personally, I love homemade valentines. For the past couple of years, I've done things with the kids' faces on them, but this year the kids wanted cards with characters. I thought about just buying them at the store, but I knew there just had to be a better way. There had to be a way to create personalized cards that still had the kids'  favorite characters.

My first thought was to make them in Photoshop. So, I put this cute photo of Lego R2 D2 on a white background, added some cheesy text, and my son thought it would be perfect for the girls in his class.

Too girly? Really? How can Star Wars be too girly?  But, you know, it's important to portray the right image in second grade, so it was back to the drawing board. As I searched for images I could use, I came across this site. It was perfect! Large images - often with lots of space for text. I got to work and came up with card number two:

Of course, as a teacher, I needed valentines too! The Muppet fan in me fell in love with this picture of Oscar: 

My daughter is all about My Little Pony these days. So after viewing all the MLP backgrounds she settled  on the one below.  

Just in case you happen to have a little girl at home who loves My Little Pony, here is the same card without my daughter's name. You can download the font for free here. (You can find the fonts I used in the R2D2 card here and the Darth Vader card here - both also free.) Then just use your favorite graphics editing software and add in your child's name. (Or skip that step and have her sign with a silver sharpie.)  I cropped the image to be 4 by 6 - just perfect to upload to Snapfish  to get printed for nine cents each. I suppose you could do it at home, but I always seem to run out of ink at the most inopportune moments, so for me, Snapfish was easier.

Please feel free to download these cards and use them. Just be aware that you can't sell them - the characters are all trademarked, or is it copyrighted? I'm not sure, but either way selling them is a big no no.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 4, 2013


Today was the day. It was cold, still and beautiful, and the ice had been freezing all weekend. All weekend...

72 hours...

Less than that really, but it was there...

Calling to them...

"Cross me."

It scares me just thinking about it. I think it scared them too, at least a little bit, because they left their snowmobiles behind and crossed on foot. I heard, through Mackinac's active rumor mill, they flew back to the island. Apparently when the Coast Guard Cutter came through to break up the channel between the Island and Mackinaw City, it caused the ice to pull away from shore and made a return trip impossible.

I'm glad they made it home safely. And extra extra glad my husband doesn't even think about doing things like that. If he did, I'd be so worried I couldn't think straight.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Just Kidding

Apparently that last boat wasn't really the last boat. It was supposed to be, but then they started running again. Now we're just all wondering how long they'll keep running.

It's been cold and the Straits of Mackinac are getting icy. Hopefully that means we'll get an ice bridge this year...