Thursday, August 3, 2017

Lucky Girl

 

A few days ago my daughter decided to look for four leaf clovers in our front yard.


After finding her first one, she ran in the house, excited to show us her find. But, of course, one clover wasn't enough, so she popped back outside to keep looking.


By the end of her search, she'd found a total of five, four leaf clovers. All five of them are currently tucked away in my Grandma's giant dictionary until we can get a frame for them. Looking back, I think we should have gone down to Doud's that day to get a lottery ticket.




Sunday, July 30, 2017

Slimy!


Slugs are fairly common on Mackinac Island. Big slimy leopard slugs that can be up to six or seven inches long.

I often see them trying to cross the road on damp mornings during the summer months. (The squished ones are really gross.)


I found this one crossing my yard on his/her (slugs are both - they're hermaphrodites) way to have a snack in my garden. I relocated it to the back of the empty lot across the street where it can nibble on the greens to its heart's content. I'd rather it not munch on my flowers.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Want a Piece?

 
As you can tell from their faces,  Seattle's Gum Wall was not on of my kids' favorite stops. I was OK at first. All that gum was kind of amazing - it was everywhere, on everything. And this actually isn't all the gum. Apparently, in 2015, they removed over 2,000 pounds of the stuff from the walls of the alley.

As we walked we saw simple gobs of gum smashed into the bricks,  little sculptures made from  gum, and even gum used to post little messages on the wall. Other really creative people used multiple pieces to spell out words. 

I was just fine as I wandered around thinking, "I wonder how much all that gum weighs?" and "I bet the acidity of the gum isn't good for those bricks," until S and I posed for this picture:


As I opened my mouth and got close, I instantly regretted it. Even at over a foot from the wall, the air was so saturated with the sickeningly sweet smell of gum, I could actually taste it. Ugh! It was so gross! Luckily we were already on out way down the alley and out to fresher air.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Seattle Aquarium

We loved the Seattle Aquarium. Partially because we're just geeky people, but also because the sea otters completely stole our hearts. They were just about the most adorable things I've ever seen. Don't believe me? Check out their live Otter-Cams here.

Another wonderful exhibit at the aquarium was Life on the Edge: Sea Life in Puget Sound Tide Pools. Both S and K spent a lot of time there. Since the sea anemones in the sound are not poisonous like their warm-water relatives, we could touch them. K loved how sticky their tentacles felt.


S loved touching the sea stars and the spiky sea urchins. 


Both kids also had a great time posing with each and every statue we found within the aquarium. (Don't worry, there were no real germ-infested kisses.)


I know it seems expensive to visit places such as the Seattle Aquarium, but if you go to Seattle with kids just bite the bullet and go. The aquarium may be on the small side, but we loved it and found the it well worth the entrance cost.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Irises


Earlier this summer, the irises were blooming in the garden and they looked so pretty. The shapes inside were so interesting,


and the sunlight lit the flowers' interior in such an interesting way, I couldn't resist and took about a zillion pictures.

There's just something about flowers blooming in the garden that just makes me smile...


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Fireworks!


The Island's fireworks this year this year were really good. They started out a little on the slow side but built up into a wonderful finale. Well, three finales actually. The technicians  kept psyching us out, but when the horns sounded after the third one, we knew they were over. It was a great way to end a fun-filled day.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day


Happy Independence Day!
Our day is going to be filled with good friends,
games, a picnic, and of course fireworks.
How about you?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Seattle: Kerry Park


We were a little surprised to be treated to sun on our first day in Seattle. Ying Ying and Miguel thought it was a prefect day to check out the view from Kerry Park.


It was a lovely little scenic overlook with an amazing view of Seattle, as well as art to appreciate. Which, of course, meant the kids had to climb all over it.


Plus, down below, the kids discovered a wonderful little playground. And who can resist new playground equipment? Certainly not my family - we had to try every single thing! It was great fun.
 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Trolls

Michigan's Lower Peninsula (beneath the Mackinac Bridge) isn't the only place you can find trolls; did you know Seattle has one too? He's known as the Fremont Troll, he lives under the Aurora Bridge, and he's big.

Big enough to grab a Volkswagen Bug from the road.

Both of the kids loved exploring his domain. Luckily he was very amiable and quite happy to let the kids climb all over him.

Ying Ying, Allen and I, were happy to just spend some time together. It was so nice spending the day with her!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Vacation!

Way back in 2000, we were lucky enough to host an exchange student from China. We fell in love with her and have kept in touch all these years.

She and her husband are living in Seattle these days, and we were lucky enough to get an invitation to spend a week with them right after school got out.



Seattle was such a neat city, but visiting with Y was the best part of the trip!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Progress

The "Teacherage," as my husband has taken to calling it, is coming along nicely...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Memorial Weekend

Over Memorial Weekend
we stayed in one of our favorite
little cabins. But we also:
watched Michigan's largest Memorial Day parade,

practiced the finer points of baggataway
at Fort Michilimackinac,



 and made mom happy by making sure the
weekend included just a little bit of learning.

Except for the mosquitoes,
 it was a great unofficial start to summer. 
(It has to be unofficial since our last day of school
isn't until Friday.)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Kid's Fishing Day


Yesterday I saw a sign for Kid's Fishing Day, and I realized, I'd never posted about the last time we went. It's only been three years, right?  Kind of the story of my life lately...

The kids thoroughly enjoyed Kid's Fishing Day over in St. Ignace. We often visit Castle Rock Ponds, but we'd never made it over for this event. Kid's Fishing Day is actually part of Free Fishing Weekend - put on by the State of Michigan. During those two weekends (one in June and one in February) adults can fish without a license (kids under 17 never need licenses in Michigan.)  


The kids loved the free hot dogs, the giant catch and release trout, and the unending prizes. Both kids were thrilled with what they won - S took home a new fishing pole and a tackle box and K won a sweatshirt. K won at the last possible prize - you could see the worry of not winning melt away as the announcer called her name. This year they both won gift certificates from businesses in St. Ignace.

Big thank yous to Gustafson's Smoked FishBC Pizza and Bentley's for supporting this event. S & K were thrilled with the prizes and gift certificates you donated!

S was much more interested in the other non-fish critters in the pond. Instead of showing you yet another photo of the frogs he's caught, I'll share this little guy:


S was so proud of that tiny little turtle! (It's shell was about the size of a silver dollar.) Of all the things S has caught over the years, this was the hardest one for him to let go...

Kid's Fishing Day, this year, is Saturday, June 10th.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Rereading


I can't remember when I first read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale,  but over the years I've read it four or five times. If you're not familiar with the story, it revolves around a woman living in a not too distant future. A future in which the US has been replaced by a Christian theocracy  which forces the few remaining fertile women  to bear children for the ruling class. It's challenging for the main character to embrace this new life because she remembers the life she use to have with her husband and daughter before the regime change. Plus, her new life kinds of sucks...

Thursday I stopped at the library so I could read it again  and I found the original checkout record in the front of the book. 


The Island's copy was first checked out in May of 1986 (the year the American edition was first published) and had only been checked out 18 times until I picked it up last week. The last time it was checked out was in May of 1995 - 22 years ago. I suppose I should be thankful the library decided to hold onto it.

I thought it was time to reread The Handmaid's Tale since we started watching the Hulu series based on the book:



I must admit, the series is good, and quite well done. Without giving anything away, I feel it stays true to the voice Margaret Atwood gave her main character (in the book, we never learn her real name.) And while Hulu did make changes, I think they work. If you have access to the show, I highly recommend it. Though, given the nature of the subject matter, you'll want to watch it after the kids have gone to bed...

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Field Trip

On Friday the 4th, 5th and 6th graders got a chance to tour the Icebreaker Mackinaw. It was really interesting. It's one of those local attractions that most of the island kids (including mine) had never visited before. I think the ship looks pretty much like it did when the Coast Guard was using it; it almost looks like they just walked away and left everything behind. There were manuals on the shelves and equipment in the cupboards.

The kids got to tour the ship, a ham radio and navigation demonstration, as well as a question and answer session with a gentleman who served aboard the vessel in the 1970s. (He was the coolest part of the tour for me.) After we disembarked we headed over to our favorite lunch buffet: BC Pizza!
 
The kids stuffed themselves with pizza, bread sticks, and cinnamon sticks and then it was off to the Jack Pine Lumberjack Show.
 
The jokes are corny and I'm quite certain the guys decide who will win each event before the show begins, but they kids loved it. And the lumberjacks really climb the poles, chop logs, and carve with chain saws - which the kids thought was really cool. But I think the kids' favorite part was the autograph session after the show.  Each lumberjack had a big marker and was willing to sign big chunks of - scrap wood for the kids. 
 
 
Plus, we found out they're going to have log rolling classes for kids this simmer. My son is really interested, so I think you may just find us by that pond on Tuesday and Thursday mornings this summer. I'm hoping to stay dry...
 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It's Not Everyday a Wizard Turns Eleven


Since my daughter was turning eleven we just had to celebrate Harry Potter style. After we turned the dining room into the Great Hall with spell books, owls, and snakes,

my husband made the cake, The Monster Book of Monsters, out of homemade modeling chocolate. (Yeah, he's that awesome!)

The best thing about this party was I was able to borrow or inexpensively make almost everything. (Kind of handy that we had March is Harry Potter Month at school a couple of years ago. Oh yeah, and that I'm a hoarder.)

My favorite part, was the "bewitched" candles (translate that to: suspended from clear Command adhesive hooks with fishing line.) I made them out of toilet paper tubes, hot glue, white spray paint and cheap battery powered tea lights. They looked really cool.


It still hasn't hit me that she's eleven. When did that happen???