Saturday, October 20, 2012

So Excited!!

So my mom announced that she and my brother and sister in law are coming for Thanksgiving! As you know Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so I am feeling so blessed with this opportunity! I know it will be a hard trip for them, after all it is 1,500 miles one way and on a bus no less. I want them to know that I am feeling so loved because of their coming. I really hope they know how grateful I am to have this opportunity!

I went to the local Sav-Half greeting card store the other day and found this magnet and, well it spoke to my heart so I just had to get it! I have also been challenging myself to start the day with one thankful thought and praise to God for my blessings each morning before I get out of bed as well. I am so blessed!

Sisters...they are so wonderful!

If some of you are aware, I am no longer using Facebook for very many personal reasons. So not being able to brag or boast about my family that lives 1500 miles away from me, I shall use Blogger to do it here.

 Can I just say I am so very blessed to have sisters!  This year for my birthday two of my three sisters send me most special gifts...I got a hand-made apron from my talented and sweet sister, Monica. I can't believe how sweet she is! She is such an inspiration to me and she takes after my grandma so much with all her crafts and baking! I am so proud to be her sister.

Then Jennifer, the sister I had the privilege of being most closest to in age and whom I shared rooms with when I was growing up, sent me an awesome Betty Crocker cookbook. She put so much thought into it reading reviews and thought of me when she saw it that she just knew I would like it. How did she know I always wanted one? In fact I am going to use it tomorrow for our our Sunday dinner - you will have to read about my posts on my recipe blog about it.

Thank you to the most wonderful sisters a girl could ever have! How did they know that an apron and a cookbook would go together hand in hand?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

30 (plus 10)

So I'm 30 plus 10 (you'll know why I call it this when you read on...) and counting, right? Well since my birthday was coming up and it was the biggest one yet I knew wanted to do something that would be memorable so I thought what better to do than to go somewhere I've never been? So that is what we did.

Thursday I got off work and got Savanah out of school early so we could leave early. When we were busy getting things ready Charlie pretends to have something under his hat, takes it and walks away with me left behind in the kitchen opening a pretty little jewelry box that held some beautiful earrings and a silly card with Maxine about my big milestone birthday and how easily I forget things. It made me laugh and will be a keeper - too bad it is true about the forgetting things. Even as I am typing this I am having a hard time remembering the details. It was a nice gift and brings me smiles whenever I put the earrings on.

We headed down to Wisconsin Dells - about a 3 hour drive from our house. We had all our bags packed and the dogs and cats were all set up with a sitter so things were good. We got in to our resort around 5 pm and didn't make it into our room until probably an hour later. I guess we were excited to find that the resort had an on-site racquetball court so we dabbled and played a little. Then we took our time checking out the facility. Later on we went swimming and in the hot tub and then played some tennis. It was great in that no one else was there.

Next morning we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. I could just live in that place - I so love the food and the store. I think I should write them and tell them they need to have one here in Green Bay. Of course coffee and breakfast was delicious but what was more cool was that they had a large fire burning in the fireplace. We were so warm and cozy. Afterward I got Jenny a gift for watching the dogs for us and of course was tempted to buy more, but I held out.

We went back to our room and decided to bake my birthday cake. While it was cooling we headed to the activity center where Savannah and I checked out a couple of the bikes they had available at the resort and took a little bike ride. We all played in the arcade and with the basketball and tennis ball courts along with more racquetball. There was a little boy that would come by us to watch Charlie play and it was cute how he asked me if that was my dad.

Jake joined us in the afternoon and from there we had a relaxing time roaming the resort grounds, looking at the scenery and feeding the ducks. We even spotted a seagull diving for a fish and flying away with it. If only I could have gotten that on video. Savannah of course found and named her favorite duck. She called her Feathers, naturally, since the duck had a fluffy head. We don't know why she had the feathers poking out, none of the others had. It made it easy to spot her however when we went out to feed them again later that day, she couldn't see Feathers and became quite concerned. Luckily Feathers did come back.

We walked to the waterfall and pond and just over the hill we caught "Ma" and "Pa" ducks waddling behind us. I called them "Ma" and "Pa" cause the female duck would follow the male duck and they remained walking and swimming around in pairs. It was so cute. I didn't know they paired off like that. I got a bunch of shots with my camera and even a family photo that turned out better than expected. It was a perfect day.

Afterwards we went to a place called Wizard Quest where you play a live game finding hints and clues in different worlds to try and free the wizards from being trapped. At first we weren't sure (well Savannah and I weren't sure) about it, but I could tell that Charlie and Jake loved the idea. After we started playing and finding clues hidden in the worlds it really got fun. Savannah helped us figure out how to find the Earth wizard who was trapped in a tree. We had searched for her so long it was really exciting when we heard the key unlock.

We had planned to also go to Ripley's Believe it or Not museum, but they were having a special that night on spooking out the museum and so the boys went without us girls but they allowed us back in the next day so we could see the museum in the light without the spook alley part. We got done with everything later than planned so our dinner consisted of late night Taco Bell, but that was okay considering we were planning on spending a lot of money on dinner the next night.

Saturday was gray and misty but we stayed in for the morning and watched a couple of rented movies and made breakfast. After we cleaned up we headed back out to Ripley's. We spent a while there seeing all the oddities and played a few jokes on each other. There wasn't anyone else around but us so it was a lot of fun.

We heard there was another live game like Wizard Quest so we went and found that it was more of a kid oriented game. It was similar in that there were different areas (which were technically different floors) of the gardens but that you would have to collect things with a magic wand instead. It was kind of cumbersome at first since there were so many kids there and it was a bit confusing and not as fun as the first game we had played. Once Savannah got the hang of it she really liked it, that and Daddy helped her out a lot. There was a lot of slides and climbing on ropes to get to the other levels so it was really a good place to let your kid hang out at all day and they would never get bored.

After playing there for about 2 hours we headed to dinner. Charlie had been to a place called House of Embers prior to when we met and he lived here in Wisconsin. The restaurant was still there and he remembered their food being very good and that it was considered a 5 star restaurant. So he really wanted to take me as part of my birthday experience. When we got there we were seated by the fire place and ordered whatever we wanted. We had appetizers, salad, dinner, and Crème Brûlée for dessert. It was fun but I will have to say that we will only do that on special occasions.

After dinner we went to the Magic Show where we were seated on the third row - very close to the stage. I think it was the second act where Savannah raised her hand to volunteer to be on stage. Her job was making sure the locks were in place for the magician and his wife, the assistant, as they did the wooden box switch out trick. You know, this is the one where the magician trades places with her while the box is locked up and she is tied in a bag with a knot the other volunteer tied. And of course they somehow came out wearing different outfits when the switch was made. It was amazing how they could have done this, so much so that I asked Savannah if she noticed anything while she was on the stage. I didn't bring my camera in for this one but should have so I could get Boo's picture up there. I am not sure they would have let me take pictures as I didn't know anyone else taking them. We left there puzzled on how they did the other illusions and what could possibly have taken place. We had a few answers but there were some that we'll never figure out - like the doves in a cage disappearing and the assistant appearing in their place. Or how the helicopter was put on the stage in the short time they flashed a flag in front of the area...I guess not knowing is the part of the amusement.

We went back to our room and everyone sang happy birthday to me and we had cake. The kids and I went for a late night swim at the pool and eventually we passed out.

Sunday morning we packed up to check out and went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Jake had really wanted to go since he hadn't been there for so long so we didn't have a problem with that of course. After we ate we headed home in the rain. I don't think it stopped raining the whole way home. The trees were pretty in fall colors though so that was something nice to look at.

Here are some of my favorite photos:

Friday's sunrise view from our balcony. I love how the fall colors pick up the sunlight as if they are anxious for the day to start.

Savannah's new best friends. They followed her all the way around the pond.

I should call this one "Duck whisperer" -  I love how she is kneeling down and talking to them.

Two cute duck butts!

Feathers, Savannah's pet duck.

At Ripley's. Hey there is someone out there taller than Jake!

Playing Magi Quest (we didn't get picutres of Wizard Quest - boo hoo)

Daddy helping Savannah find all the things she needs to play the game.

Getting an autograph from magician and his wife for the poster she won for helping out on stage.

My 30 "plus ten"cake. Funny thing and true story - the store didn't have a 4 so instead of just buying single candles, Charlie bought a "30" and 10 ugly black and white striped and polka dotted ones to make a plus sign indicating the "and" along with 10 candles. I think these were to represent the over the hill with the traditional black color? 
So there you have it. 30 plus ten. A very memorable birthday. I will forever call this birthday my 30 plus ten birthday - sounds much better than 40, doesn't it? (Good thing I have a camera or I may have forgotten it already...Maxine knows her stuff!)

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Door County - Annual Fall Trip

We made our annual trip to Door County last Sunday. It started out cloudy and foggy that morning but after church the afternoon bloomed with sunlight and blue skies The fall leaves were so beautiful with the trees are standing tall and towering above the green fields. I liked the purple and red leaves in contrast with the bright yellow and orange. There were still a few green in there as well. So beautiful! Especially with view of the blue water in the distance from the bay of Lake Michigan. We stopped and ate lunch at the Rusty Tractor Cafe, which is also the tradition we started when my mom and my step dad, Randy, had come out for their first visit two years ago. It is a little place that we stumbled upon and now it has sentimental memories ever since.
Even though they took the antique shop out and moved things around, Randy was still there with us in spirit - we had a Bauermeister orange soda and reminisced about how he ate that super sized ice cream cone afterward. On the way home we had to stop in for some Door county wine tasting at the Door County Peninsula Winery where we also tasted samples of Fat Louie's oil and vinegars. We came home with a bottle of garlic oil - it was so good in the store we had to buy some.

View of trees from Highway 57 - I should have zoomed in on this one...

Beautiful velvet hollyhocks in front of the cafe

At the Rusty Tractor. This older gentleman was enjoying his coffee at the ice cream bar on a milk can - sorta reminded me of the movie Grumpy Old Men

Wall of antiques - missed the store they had there. We're not sure why they got rid of it.

Drinking one for "Grandy"

Ma and Pa

Charlie liked this one

View of the trees from the cafe

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Way to go!

Jacob has passed his GED this week with only one try. Next he is planning to go to NWTC for his auto mechanics degree!

Savannah won a ROARS award at school and got her picture taken and posted on the school wall. Her school has the motto "ROARS" which stands for Respectful, Organized, Attentive, Responsible, and Safe.

Time for some celebration! With all that we have going on in the next couple of weeks we plan to take them both out somewhere special where they will not forget!

Way to go!