Thursday, July 12, 2018

Mackinac Island

It's Island day!

It's a beautiful day to sail to the island!

Mackinac Island is located in the Straits of Mackinac.  It is only accessible in the summer by boat.  During the winter, you can go across the ice on snowmobile to the island.  They now have speedboat ferries that can get you across in 15 minutes.  They also do the classic cruises which take about 45 minutes.

It was a beautiful day to be on the island!

This is a view of the harbor from Fort Mackinac.  You can see what a good vantage point they had from the fort defending the island.

Some of the buildings from the fort were brought over in pieces across the ice from Fort Michilimackinac.  It's not hard to miss the fort.  It looms in the background of the harbor.

To gain access to the fort, you have to climb up what is called "Heart Attack Hill".  It is a steep incline walk.  Lots of people need to take a break when walking up so there are benches to sit and catch your breath.

Once you reach the fort, there is a lot of history to read and learn about.  They do a wonderful job of setting up different demonstrations to show what life at the fort was like.  You can even learn in the bathrooms!  There is a sign in the restrooms that explain you are using the modern bathrooms that were installed at the fort.  In their time, this was cutting edge technology!  If you were caught putting anything besides waste or paper in the toilets, you were taken to court, tried, and if found guilty had to use the old outhouses.  You were forever banned from using the fancy schmancy toilets!

My tribe would have been banned for sure.

The old cannons still wait to defend the fort.  They do have certain times that they fire the cannons.

A landmark that most associate with the island is the Grand Hotel.

It is like stepping back in time when you visit here.  The carriages and footmen bring guests and their luggage up from the harbor.  It is a lovely place to sit on the porch and relax enjoying the view.  We didn't do that.  My peeps were too much on the move!

The movie "Somewhere In Time" with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour was filmed here.

We did walk through the carriage house for the hotel.  Here, carriages and riggings that had significance to the island are on display.

On our walk to our carriage tour of the island, we passed this.  I got a kick out of it!

This is one of the employee parking lots for the hotel.  There are no motorized vehicles allowed on the island.  All transportation is done by either horse, carriage, bicycle or walking.  They do have one motorized vehicle on the island and that is an ambulance.  It is only used in dire emergency conditions though.

When you go to the island, you have to make the climb to Arch Rock.  Supposedly, the rock is collapsing and will plunge into the straits in about 50 years.  It is worth the climb just for the view.

You can be lazy like us though and take the carriage tour.  They let you go and see the rock and take pics.  Plus you don't have to walk 3 miles up hill.

One thing that is a must when visiting the island....

....FUDGE!!  There are fudge shops EVERYWHERE!  It's hard to escape them!  You really can't go wrong with any of them.

So now that we came, saw, ate and walked, we are going to call it a day and say goodbye to a wonderful day on the island.

Definitely a must see if you visit Michigan.

Tomorrow it is Mill Creek.  This is the mill that produced most of the lumber for Fort Mackinac.

Until then....

....adieu mon ami.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Mackinac City

Mackinac City is a small touristy town that sits at the base of the Mackinac Bridge on the Straits of Mackinac.  It is one of two cities that you leave from to reach Mackinac Island.

The bridge is an amazing 5 miles long and it connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan.

Is there a lighthouse you ask?!  Pfffft.....yeah....

Have I told you that I am obsessed with lighthouses?  I am.  This one is no longer active and serves as a museum for Lake Huron.  Lake Huron is on the east side of the bridge and Lake Michigan is on the left.  The straits connect the two.  Guess what we saw tooling around on the lake?!

Indian impersonators!  This is a birch bark canoe that they would have used to bring furs and supplies to the upper part of Michigan long ago.  This group reenacts fur traders coming to the fort, which is on the other side of the bridge.  We'll get there in a sec.....

Here they are paddling their little hearts out.  When they used these boats long ago, they had to make repairs to them on a daily basis.  One of the jobs in the boat was to soak up any water that came in with a large sponge and wring it out while they were travelling.  I don't think I would want that job.

Here is the guard for the fort who would fire this musket when boats were approaching.  I tried to get a pic, but when he shot that thing off it scared the crap out of me and I ended up with this.  Ah well....

Here is a view from one of the watch towers.  You can see in the middle the archaeological dig that is going on.  Fort Michilimackinac is a reconstructed fort.  It has a rather interesting history.  In 1783, the fort was taken over by the British and Native Americans.  The Native Americans, actually the Ojibwae, were right outside the fort playing a game.  The soldiers became very intrigued by the game.  Suddenly the Ojibwae women gave weapons they had hidden in their clothes to the warriors and the fort was overtaken.  The Americans eventually got it back.  They realized though that it was not in the best of spots to be a lookout.  A nearby island across the water looked to be a much better place for a fort.  So, the fort was disassembled and drug over the ice to what is now Mackinac Island and reassembled.  What they couldn't take over was burned.  The fort has been reconstructed according to historical records and findings from the digs that have been going on.  Cool huh?!

After spending the day here, we headed to a campground on Lake Huron for the next two days.

The first night, this rolled in.  It only lasted 15 minutes.  Just enough to cool everything off and lower the humidity.

After the rain, we were treated to this beautiful rainbow over the lake.

As for now, so ends day 3 of our vacation.  Tomorrow we are crossing the big water to Mackinac Island.

Looking forward to spending time on the island, dreading the ferry ride though....

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Traverse City

Traverse City is truly a gem of Michigan.  It is a foodie's nirvana.  The food is served so beautifully at the restaurants here it is hard to chose a place to eat!  It seems like there is always something to do in the Grand Traverse Bay on the weekends.  

This weekend is the Annual Cherry Fest.  Anything and everything cherry related can be found here!  There are even cherry pit spitting and cherry pie eating contests.  We had the privilege of enjoying the air show that was happening over the Bay.

We had a great spot to watch on the pier that juts out into the bay.

The Coast Guard was up first to "warm" everyone up.  They dropped their divers into the bay from the helicopters and then lifted them back in to simulate a water rescue.

If you look closely at this picture, you can see the Tall Ship Manitou that calls Traverse City home.  We have gone to see the Tall Ships a few times already.  They are such beautiful floating pieces of art!  Back to the air show.  Up next was.... (drumroll)....

.... The Blue Angels!  I never had a desire to seeing them before, but after seeing them perform I would definitely go back!  I enjoyed this more than I thought I would!

After the Blue Angels were done, we drove out to the point of the bay.  Here is the lighthouse that serves the Grand Traverse Bay area.  We kinda get all excited about seeing lighthouses.  It is such a beautiful drive out there though, how could we not?!

One of the many vineyards on the peninsula.  Isn't that gorgeous?  We keep saying that one of these days we are going to do the kayaking vineyard tour around the peninsula.

Well, that is about it.  So ends another beautiful vacation day in Michigan.

Tomorrow we are driving to Mackinac City to tour Fort Michilimackinac and the Straits Lighthouse.

So until then, au revoir mon ami!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Vacation 2018 Michigan Style

I am sure that I was not missed much.  Okay....maybe not at all.  I am back though from vacation!  This will probably be our last "family" vacation since the older kids have serious boyfriends and girlfriends.

I wanted to do something special.

This last year I have gotten very melancholy since losing my dad last year.  When I was about 13, we took a vacation around the coast of Lower Michigan and into the Upper Peninsula.  I loved it!  I thought this would be an awesome opportunity to show the kids the beautiful state we live in.  My husband hasn't really been to alot of places in Michigan either so off we go!

I just love Michigan.  There is so much to see and do here.  Our first day we headed north to Petoskey.  Petoskey is on Lake Michigan and such a cute town.  This is the only place you can find Petoskey stones.  They are a fossil and a stone.  They are hard to spot, but when they are polished up are very pretty.

The marina is full of boats from all over.  You can actually reach Michigan from the Atlantic.

So many beautiful places in downtown Petoskey to take pics!

This is a view of the bay.  Love it!

The first of many waterfalls in Michigan....

....and beautiful sunsets.

I could get used to nights like this.

Tomorrow I will show you Traverse City and the Blue Angels

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Countertops - Day One

Yes, you read that right, day one.

I am not known for my patience so this is going to be hard.

I'm using this stinky paint to do the countertops on my island with.

It really stinks!  You also need to use mineral spirits to clean it up also.  Mineral spirits is not the best smelling either!  Good thing I have all the windows open.

Anyways.... my husband made this island for the new kitchen.  I love it!  One thing I wanted in the new kitchen was an island.

Would have been nice if I remembered to get a pic of it BEFORE I started to take it apart to paint!

Oy vey!!

When we took on this renovation, I wanted two different tones of cabinets.  I also wanted one type of granite on the counters and another one on the island.  The lower cabinets were going to be dark and the upper light.  But I changed my mind....  The island is going to be dark and all the other cabinets light.  One of these days we will get to putting in granite.  For now, I am using paint on the island to help me decide.  The other countertops are off the shelf formica tops from Lowe's.  Eventually those will get replaced too.  I've already painted the cabinets 3 times trying to decide what kind of finish I want on them.  Once I decide, we are planning on going back and replacing cabinets and countertops.

You can see the color of the formica in the first picture.  I really like it!  So for now, that is my "dark".  The island is going to be lighter.  I decided to do this because we are going on vacation on Friday for 10 days.  I want these to be able to cure while we are gone so I can reassemble them when we come back.

I'm also a glutton for punishment....

I got the first coat done on the underside....

....and the second coat.  I wanted to get this done so it can dry overnight and I can flip them to paint the other side.

The can says to let them dry for 12 hours.

Ugh!  I hate waiting!

So now we wait....

Did I mention I hate waiting?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Best Laid Plans....

I really meant to have something fun to post, but no....

This happened....

....yes, that would be the well Bob.

For the 4th freaking time!

We finished up replacing ALL the plumbing pipes in the house PLUS the hot water heater, compression tank and water softener.  We also added a whole house filter to better our water.

We were stupid enough to think that we had solved all our problems.

But NOOOOOO!  The well pump went out!  Or so we thought.

We ended up pulling the well and all 165 feet of pipe that is attached to it.  Yeah, the well pump is at the other end of that 165 feet.  Replaced the well pump and put it back down the well.  Our luck is that while we were putting it BACK in, our son noticed that a piece of the wiring was exposed.  Yes, that was the problem, not the pump.

Oy vey!

Soooo now that that is done, I can get back to work on the drywall.

And the kitchen island

And the baseboards

And the stairs

Did I mention that we are also leaving for vacation on Friday?!  Guess I should start getting ready for that too.

I better get crack-a-lacking!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Derailed again....

It seems like just a few months ago I had tried to restart the blog.  Imagine my surprise that it was 2 years ago!  Woah....time flies when you are having fun right?!

I decided to start again now to hold myself accountable.  With everything that has been going on for the last 4 years, I seem to have gotten nothing done.  Maybe this will inspire me to "get'er done".  First, I revamped the blog to update it's look.  Like it?!  (Imagine me twirling when I said that.)  I've also been thinking of what I would like to concentrate on....hmmm....

You may have noticed the pages have changed.  We are still working on the farmhouse.  I fear this will be a neverending project.  (Insert ugly crying face)  We made a promise to NOT tear up anything until what we were working on was complete.  Even though it was is a huge project, it seemed feasible....until....we actually got into the project.  It seems that one thing leads to another and another and so on.  Considering that the only walls we didn't move were the outside walls, I guess we should have expected it.  Now I just want to finish it and get on to the fun stuff, like decorating.  Not deciding where this plug is going to go or where are we going to run that duct.  You are going to benefit though.  I plan on writing "How to" tutorials on remodeling. These can be located under the how to page.  

You may or may not have noticed a betta and Fontanini page added.  Both of these are my addictions.  Before we moved to the farmhouse, I raised and showed cichlids and bettas.  I love my fishies!  My oldest daughter has gotten me hooked recently on breeding and showing the bettas again.  Under this page you will find information on bettas and the different ones that I have.

My other passion is my Fontanini collection.  It only comes out at Christmas though.  My sister started my collection the year I got married by gifting me the Hallelujah angel.  Every year it has grown a bit.  Almost 20 years later, it is quite extensive.  Oops....  The only year I didn't put it up was the year I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I just didn't feel in the mood for it.  In fact, Christmas Eve I went to bed early.  I just needed some alone time to sort out my thoughts and feelings.  I heard my husband and kids in the living room laughing and playing around.  It made me sad to think I may not be here the following Christmas.  Christmas morning I woke up and went into the living room.  There was my Fontanini collection all set up!  I found out that they had worked for hours together putting it all up to surprise me.  They said it just wasn't Christmas without me or the Fontanini.  Since then, no matter how I am feeling I will be putting out the Fontanini.

This is only part of it since it is too large to be in one room.  If I can get my fat butt in gear, I can hopefully have the basement done to set it up this year.  Wish me luck!

The cooking section is going to change just a wee bit.  I am trying very hard to be vegeterian/vegan while the rest of the tribe is pure carnivore.  It's been quite an experience trying to satisfy everyone's needs.  My struggles are your gain though!  I am going to share how I accomplish this with a few modifications.

Well, I think that is about it.  I have a tutorial on how to drywall in the works, the boy's room to work on and the not so bitty one to get to gymnastics.  Life is anything but boring around here!

Monday, April 11, 2016

About that bathroom....

So....this last few weeks things have gotten away from me.  Between the bathroom, my oldest's 20th birthday and Easter the time flew!

Get ready for picture overload!

My husband did a beautiful job on the floor!  I just love it!  We chose a windmill pattern and used a ceramic tile in a 12" and 4".

I did get to go shopping for this beauty too.  It was a complete set including the faucet, granite top, wash bowl and vanity.  I chose this mirror so the little one can tilt it to look in.  We also added the shaving mirror which is wonderful.  It telescopes and tilts so you can get a good view.  One side is regular and the other is magnifying.


We picked a toilet that has a top button flusher instead of the handle on the tank.  The metal finish is oil rubbed bronze which is a nice contrast with the beige walls and bright white trim.

We needed something for storage in here even when it is an actual half bath.  I looked at everything and anything!  Didn't find anything I liked.  Then, sitting in the living room, I realized this was the perfect piece.  I do want to do something about seeing all the "stuff" in it though.  But that is another project to come.  I found a seashell planter at Home Goods and plopped the pothos plant in it.  Guess it likes it's new home cause it is growing like crazy,  The lantern was a gift from a client and I added an electronic candle to it.  I had a real candle in it, but I don't like the way the wax gets all over the inside.

Loving the crown molding and corner details on the ceiling....

....and around the door.

I wanted a sparkly chandelier type of light, but my husband didn't.  I didn't want to spend alot on the fixture.  He just wanted me to get a damn light.  Oy vey.  We finally settled on this one with an Edison light bulb.

Since the most expensive part was the light bulb, I did get a medallion for it.  Guess that is a small win for me.

As for color we decided on navy blue.

I found this framed print at Hobby Lobby.  It just seemed to fit.  So I guess we are going with a coastal theme in here.

That's it for now.  I love how this room looks!  I still have to work on the window and I have a little project or two to finish up.

So off to work I go!

Just a reminder of what this space used to look like

Added to

Metamorphosis Monday
Digging It and Dishing It
Wow Us Wednesdays