Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mackinac Moment: Black Friday

Black Friday was rather quiet on Mackinac Island.

We saw a few people people out and about, but for the most part town was empty.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thankful for Insurance

Let me start by saying that my daughter is fine. She's fine today, but three weeks ago things weren't so great.

You see, on a Friday morning, just after breakfast, my daughter swallowed a quarter.  She didn't mean to swallow it; it was an accident. That quarter was then stuck in her esophagus and was not moving. After two sets of x-rays, a phone consultation with an ENT and a shot of glucagon (to get her smooth muscles moving,) we were on our way to DeVoss Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids. The Island Medical Center called the ferry so they held the last boat for us and after the 20 minute boat ride and four hour drive we arrived at the hospital. 

The folks at DeVoss were wonderful - absolutely wonderful. They got her right in because the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nurses will still there. As luck would have it, they had been called in earlier to remove a penny from a two year-old. They put her under anesthesia and were able to go down her throat with a little camera and easily remove the quarter.  (A 2010 New York  quarter if you're wondering.)

They also removed K's loose tooth. Apparently, when people come out of anesthesia they can clench their teeth, so when they put a child with a loose tooth under, they pull the tooth. That way if the child clenches and the tooth comes out it doesn't get swallowed or worse - inhaled. When she woke up K found her tooth, four quarters and a note from the Tooth Fairy that said, "Don't swallow these." You gotta love an anesthesiologist with a sense of humor. 

We left the hospital around midnight and headed for home. Everything went along smoothly until we were about 15 miles from my mom's house in Petoskey. That's where we hit the deer. A poor little doe jumped out right in front of us. 

In the end it all in all it worked out all right. The car was still driveable and apart from being completely exhausted, we were just fine. Now the bills have started to roll in. As of today that dang quarter is worth about $9,000. $6,000 in hospital bills and $3,000 in car repairs.


This Thanksgiving I am incredibly thankful for insurance.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tomorrow's the Day!

Did you know that for the last ten years a little spacecraft, named Rosetta, has been traveling to catch up with a comet? The name of the comet is quite a mouthful - P76/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, so let's just call it, "the 
comet," shall we?

The Rosetta orbiter has a small lander aboard named Philae. Tomorrow afternoon Philae will launch and land on the comet.

Land - on a comet! Pretty amazing if you ask me.

Check out this cute video put together by the European Space Agency about the mission. It's short and prefect for kids. OK, I loved it too, especially the part where Philae packs for his trip. My students really appreciated the "I love Earth" patch on his little bag.

As I watched that video (and this one) I found myself wondering about all the math involved in making this happen. (It kind of blows my mind.)

If I've peaked your curiosity, you can watch Philea's landing live here. Coverage starts at 2:00 PM EST.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


I love Halloween. Love it. Especially helping the kids get the perfect costumes. 

For a number of years now our Tourism Bureau has organized a trick-or-treating through town for the last weekend that the stores are open. This year my son decided he wanted to be a bride: a beautiful bride wearing his great grandmother's mink stole. I was worried he'd take a lot of flack from the other kids (and adults) he knew in town given that a bride is not a typical costume for a ten year-old boy. Thank goodness I was wrong., he got lots of positive comments.

He knew back in August he wanted to be a bride, so we started looking. From the moment he saw it, he loved that dress! We found it at the thrift shop for $25.00. It was a vintage wedding dress with a beaded bodice and a long train, but it had to have been a size zero because it was tight when he wore it with his fleece underneath it. We found the veil at another shop for $5.00. Score! Once we got it all home all I had to do was take the dress in at the bust, add some tucks to shorten it and add a bustle to the back.

Sadly, the "marriage" didn't work out, and by Halloween night my beautiful bride had passed on, started to rot and returned to life as a zombie - who, for some reason, was still wearing the same dress. (Though this time over his coat because once we factored in the wind chill, it was 17 degrees here on Halloween night; about -8 C.) 

He loved being a zombie, but I must admit that I have a personal problem with zombies.  They give me nightmares. We were a little worried about the little ones at school, so the zombie bride only came out at night.

My daughter is now reading her fourth Harry Potter book, so it did not surprise me when she decided she wanted to be Hermione Granger for Halloween this year. I made her Hogwart's robes but I found the tie for $1.50 at yet another thrift shop.  Allen even made her a wand with a tip that could light up.

All afternoon as we trick-or-treated through town people kept saying, "Look, there's Harry Potter." So on Halloween night she changed her mind, had me add a scar to her forehead and decided to be Harry instead.  Her costume was perfect for a Northern Michigan Halloween. She was snug as could be wearing her coat under her robes. 

And just in case you're wondering, the kids trick-or-treated through around 1/2 of the village and each brought home about eight pounds (about 3.5 kg.) of candy. Yum!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ancient Egypt Birthday Treat

My son has always been enamored with ancient Egypt, so I shouldn't have been surprised when he asked for an ancient Egypt-themed birthday party. Oh yeah, and to be honest, I shoud add that he asked for this treat back in September! I'm a wee bit late on this one...

I always try to tie the treat I send into school with the theme of the party, but this year it was tough. There were tons of ideas out there (thank you Pinterest) but I didn't like anything because, a. I didn't want to spend a ton of money and, b. use mummies. 

So this is what I came up with: Pyramids in the desert.

I made cake pops, dipped them in chocolate but then put them in the cupcake liner rather than on a stick. Super easy! The "pyramid" is part of a Toblerone bar sprinkled with turbinado sugar sand. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Little Shopping

Two weeks ago I went shopping with a friend. Can you guess which cart is mine? Remember, I'm shopping to feed a family of four for about three weeks...