Monthly Archives: July 2008

Click on the title of the blog post to view the entire entry.

do the dunes!

Back from a lovely weekend camping at Silver Lake. Lots of talking, relaxing, thinking, praying, writing in my journal, clearing my head. I’m ready for a change! Ready for whatever God has in store for us next. I can feel something new and different coming and I can’t wait to see what it is!

Really enjoyed staying at Silver Lake. The campground is nice and woodsy with a nice breeze coming off the lake. We didn’t really go for the dunes like just about everyone else that was there. Didn’t really care for the “beach” there because it’s pretty nonexistent really. But Lake Michigan is a short drive away so we spent Saturday afternoon there. I fell asleep on the beach to the sound of the waves. It was wonderful. I love that sound.

Saw a wedding party on the beach having pictures taken. I always want to grab my camera and start working when I see a wedding. LOL! The bridesmaids wore sunny yellow and lime green dresses and the flower girls had white dresses with a black dot pattern on them and little lime green sashes around their waists. It was so cute. I love weddings. :)

A few pics from sunset on Saturday night:
me – a little sunburn and a little sunset glow ;)

my friend Jen! I’ve known her since first grade!

a different kind of sunset picture. one of my favorites from that night. I might even like it better than the actual shot I got of sunset. kind of fun.

Did a little stargazing this weekend. Haven’t really done that in a long time. The sky was so clear on Saturday night. We waited until it was really late when most people had let their fires go out and turned off their lights and we walked over by the water and sat on this bench and just looked up. It was absolutely breathtaking. Saw a few shooting stars. Made me think about the summer that Jake and I fell in love under the stars. Many moons ago. haha! ;)

And I just want to say THANK YOU for the comments and emails regarding my previous post. I returned home today to wonderful words of encouragement and I am so very thankful for the friendships I’ve made through this blog. You’re the best!

a little guidance

Off once again for my annual camping weekend with my dear friend Jen. This is my last “me” trip for a while and it will be the perfect ending to a busy July. Our camping trips are always very relaxing and laid back. We cook delicious meals over the fire, sit and talk, have some quiet time by ourselves. It’s nice. And I need it. Even though this month has been without weddings, it’s been busy. I’ve been gone a lot and when I’ve been home my days (and nights) have been filled with catching up on work from my June weddings.

I’m also looking forward to spending some quiet time – just me and God. I’ve got a lot to talk to him about. Jake’s Aflac job did not work out so he is searching for a job again. We have had no income now for a couple months. As you can imagine, things have been really stressful around here and I’ve been having heart palpitations again like I had a few years ago. I feel like I’ve been waiting for so long for Jake to finish school, just struggling to get by, wanting so much to have some stability again. And now it’s done. Jake’s “re-education” is finished and we’re in an even worse situation than we were before. No job. No money. Piles of unpaid bills. Bill collectors calling every day. I just want to cry all the time, but I try to put on a happy face. Sorry to be so depressing today. Sometimes I just gotta let it out. I’ll be praying about this a lot this weekend. We need God to step in here and give us a little guidance. There is a plan! I believe that. I just wish I knew what it was. I thought I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but now I feel like the tunnel has collapsed in the middle and we’re just trying to dig through the rubble to find our way again. :(

longaberger baskets

I have had a fascination with Longaberger Baskets since the mid 90’s when I visited the Longaberger Homestead in Dresden, Ohio on one of our summer girls days with my aunt and cousin. The corporate offices are housed in a building that is a giant basket. It’s awesome! Here’s a picture I found of the “basket” building online. :)

The baskets they make are really nice quality and hand-made there in Dresden. I have a bunch of these baskets that I’ve collected over the years that I am ready to part with. I was thinking of putting these on ebay, but I wanted to offer them to you guys first. :) Here they are:

1997 Dresden Tour Basket II with plastic protector inside – $25

1999 Cracker Basket with plastic protector inside – $25

1999 Button Basket with fabric liner and plastic protector inside – $50

2001 Woven Memories Basket with plastic protector – $50
signed by members of the Longaberger family – Jerry #3, Gary #10, Carmen #11

2002 Woven Memories Basket with fabric liner and plastic protector inside – $50
signed by members of the Longaberger family – Jerry #3, Judy #8, Gary #10, Carmen #11

2003 small oval American Cancer Society basket with plastic protector inside – $25

1999 Newspaper Basket with plastic protector/divider inside – $100
$15 shipping and handling

These have all been very well taken care of and come from a smoke-free home (thought I’d mention that since a lot of collectors don’t like to buy the baskets if they’ve been in a smoky house).

I prefer Paypal for payment.
Shipping and handling for each basket will be $7.50 (except the big newspaper basket, that one is $15 for shipping) unless you buy more than one and then I’ll adjust that rate.
Thanks! :) Email me if you have any questions.

heather ann design team in chicago

I love the internet. I really do. Because without it, I never would have met this wonderful group of girls who I was privileged enough to spend the weekend in Chicago with. :)

On Thursday morning, I drove to Heather’s house near Chicago and met up with her, Brandi and Raven (who had arrived the night before). We went out for a late lunch at a nearby Italian restaurant (Biaggi’s) and had a delicious meal, then headed back to Heather’s to relax, hang out, and chat. We sat outside on their new patio and played with our cameras for a while. I tried to share a little of my photography wisdom with them even though I’m the worst teacher on the planet. :P

We had sweet Jack with us for the day since he was sick. Poor little guy was so sad. But what a cutie pie.

Heather’s family arrived home from work and school and Tom proceeded to make us a delicious meal on the grill – chicken, potatoes, corn on the cob. So good! For dessert, we had yummy ice cream sundaes. Kenzie and I had magic shell on ours. ;)

this photo taken by Heather

On Friday morning, we woke very early (4:30) to get ready for breakfast hosted by Shutterfly. They brought in two nature photographers, Michael Macdonald and Carol Freeman, to do talks for those who attended. We were in the group that went with Michael Macdonald and he was just bursting with enthusiasm for photography. He talked about a lot of different photography concepts that were really interesting and inspiring. After our time with Michael was over, we had a nice breakfast while Shutterfly announced some new things they have coming up and Stacy Julian was there to announce Big Picture’s partnership with Shutterfly, too. It was fun to be a part of the breakfast and see some familiar faces there that I’ve seen online in the scrapbook community.

After breakfast, we headed to the airport to wait for Jenn and Claire to arrive. We got some coffee and sat by baggage claim to wait for them. Don’t ask me what I’m doing in this picture. I guess I’m really really happy to have some Starbucks. ha!

this photo taken by Heather

Once Jenn and Claire arrived, we headed downtown Chicago. It was HOT HOT HOT and HUMID. We walked down to Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain.

this photo taken by Jenn

Then we headed back up Michigan Avenue to Millenium Park to see The Bean. By the time we got there, we were all dying from the heat.

We took a few fun pictures and then literally piled into a cab. Heather in the front seat with the driver and the rest of us along with baby Claire in her car seat on top of us all squeezed in. And it was just way too hot to be that close in the back of a cab. haha! But it was an adventure, that’s for sure!

above pic taken by Heather. below pic taken by Raven.

The cab stopped at the John Hancock Building for us. We had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.

me and Jenn – self portrait style!

Heather’s HUGE piece of cake! haha!

After lunch, we walked down to the American Girl store to look around. I ended up getting Chloe a mini doll of Julie, the 1974 doll. When we came out, we decided that we might take a boat ride down the river, so Heather pulled out her handy Chicago pop-out map. We were cracking up that she needed a map even though she’s lived in the Chicago area her whole life. ;)

We ended up not taking a boat ride after all. We stopped into a nearby building to use the restroom and ended up going into a few stores. I hit the Lego store and picked something up for Zach.

Our plans changed after that due to some crazy traffic incident that was causing huge backups and making the commute out of the city really really long. We had dinner plans, so we took off and slowly made our way to Cheeseburger In Paradise, where we met up with some fellow scrapbookers – Deann, Tracie and Jen. It was so nice meeting them.

picture taken by some random guy on Jen Caputo’s camera, totally snagged this from her blog. ;)

On Saturday morning, we got up and headed over to the convention center for CHA. It was really interesting to see all the booths with all the new products and see some familiar faces in the scrapbook world. We checked out all the new Martha Stewart products, Chatterbox, Heidi Swapp, Basic Grey, Pink Paislee, and a bunch more. Saw Ali Edwards at the 7Gypsies booth, which was kind of fun. It’s so funny to see people in person whose blogs you read every day. Jenn and I both thought she was taller than we thought she’d be. haha! CHA was neat to be a part of. Even though I’m mostly all digital now, I will always have a love for paper scrapbooking products.

The one bad thing about our day at CHA was that poor Heather caught whatever bug had Jack home sick and she felt just awful. We all felt so bad for her. When we got back to her house, she was just miserable and laid down to rest. So we just hung out at the house for the evening and Tom made another delicious meal on the grill for us. I took some pictures of the girls playing on the deck with their cute Hello Kitty umbrellas. Kenzie and Katie are such cutie pies. I could take pictures of them all day. :)

Since our evening plans were cancelled and my birthday was on Sunday, I decided that I would rather drive home in the evening than get up really early to drive home for lunch with my family. So I said goodbye :( and headed home.

About an hour into my drive, my stomach started hurting, my head was pounding, my body was aching and I knew I had a fever. I thought I was going to puke while driving. :( I made it through and pretty much walked in the door and fell into bed.

Sunday was spent in bed pretty much all day and I knew that I would probably not be 100% today, so I had to reschedule an engagement session I had set for tonight. I’m still a little nauseous, but I’m much better than I was yesterday. It was totally worth getting sick, though, to be able to meet Heather and the design team girls and have such a fun weekend together!

chicago, here I come … again.

Love this picture Tonya took of me on our trip to Mackinac Island last week. I hardly ever have pictures of myself taking pictures. It’s always fun to see. :) This has absolutely nothing to do with my post, by the way! :D

I’m leaving in the morning for Heather’s house near Chicago. I can’t even express how excited I am to finally meet her, Raven, Brandi and Jenn (and baby Claire, too). Heather has lots of fun things planned for us, including a day in the city and a visit to CHA, so I’ll have lots of pictures to share when I get back!

Finally got our big blue pool set up. Jake and the kids are swimming right now. Chloe was beyond excited. I told her daddy was coming home soon and he would check the chemical levels to see if the pool was OK to swim in. She started crying because she was afraid she might not be able to swim. She is such a little fishy. hehe!

Gotta get ready for Chicago!!

2008 girls days

Mackinac Island docks

OK, this is going to be a loooong post with lots of pictures, but here goes.

Day 1 • Petoskey and Mackinaw City

Left my parents house early Monday morning for up north. Stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast. Boy, it’s hard to find a healthy option for breakfast there. I had the fruit and walnut salad and an iced mocha (not healthy, but ah well). We had a nice drive up and arrived right around lunchtime. So we stopped at Garfield’s in Petoskey. The tables were covered in paper and there was a big cup of crayons on the table, so we put those to good use. :)

After lunch, we checked into our hotel and headed downtown to browse the shops.

My wonderful mom bought me this Vera Bradley bag for an early birthday present! Thanks Mom! :)

Sisters :)

Then we drove up to Mackinaw City to browse the shops there. On our way we stopped at a McD’s to get a drink and some chocolate chip cookies (again, not healthy, but yum!). When we pulled up to the window, the lady was holding out an ice cream cone to my aunt, who informed the woman that we didn’t order a cone. The lady just stared at her with outstretched arm and said rudely, “What did you have?” Aunt Pat told her and the lady kept standing there straight-faced holding the cone out like we were supposed to take it or something. Aunt Pat looked at her and said “You can eat it.” I laughed so hard. She didn’t mean it in a rude way, but it just struck me as funny and I busted up laughing. So the rest of our time, we kept bringing it up and we’d laugh and laugh again about it. I so wish I had snapped a picture of that lady. ha! It doesn’t take much to amuse us, huh?

We stopped at the park on our way out of Mackinaw to take some pics of the bridge.

This is my new house, by the way! haha!

Ate dinner at City Park Grill in Petoskey. Jake and I had eaten there last September when I was up there for a wedding and I thought I remembered the salmon being pretty good so we went. We weren’t thrilled. Everything was pretty bland and the service was pretty slow, which I did remember from my visit there with Jake. I think next time we’re in Petoskey, we’ll try someplace else.

It was a fun first day. We stayed up watching The Bachelorette finale and playing Nutsy! We thought for sure she was going to pick Jason.

Day 2 • Mackinac Island

My mom gets motion sick, especially on boats, so we were a little worried about our boat ride to Mackinac Island on Tuesday, but it went really well. The ride there was a little rough since the waves were pretty big and choppy from the storms in the night, but Mom took a pill to help her with the sickness and she made it across just fine.

self portraits, my favorite! :)

gotta love the Starbucks on the island blending in with the old buildings.

After lunch, we took the carriage tour around the island and through the state park. It’s fun to walk around and explore the island on your own, but it’s always interesting to hear the drivers tell about the history of the island. I definitely recommend the carriage rides.

After the first leg of the tour, the carriage stops so you can get onto a larger carriage that takes you into the state park. During this stop, you can add the butterfly house to your ticket, which we did. There were tons of butterflies in there.

One even landed on Tonya’s shoulder. ;)

Our carriage on the second leg of the tour took us to Arch Rock for a 5-minute stop. The sun had come out at that point and it turned out to be a gorgeous day after our overcast morning.

In the state park, the ground was covered with these yellow flowers. It looked so beautiful all the way back into the woods.

The Grand Hotel. Someday I’m going to have enough money to afford to stay there, at least for a night. Must experience that. :)

After our tour, we checked out the rest of the shops on Main Street and then took a walk along the boardwalk.

Loved the color of this gate!

the view off the back of our Star Lines Hydro-Jet ferry

We drove over to Harbor Springs for dinner and decided on Bar Harbor. Our poor waiter. We kept joking that his name was Sonny. Not sure what it really was, but every time he came over I couldn’t look at him without bursting out laughing. Poor kid. Probably thought we were a bunch of crazy ladies.

Sunset on our drive back to the hotel in Petoskey.

Another successful girls getaway! We’ve already started a list of places we want to visit in the future. Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, a cruise, Europe (we’re thinking big now, huh?). Can’t wait for many more trips together!

dear tonya …

(the title of my post is a little nod at my cousin, pictured above left with her mom and mine.) ;)

I’m back from up north. We had such a wonderful time in Petoskey, Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island. I have lots of fun pictures to share. This is what the majority of them look like:

I’ll share more later. Must catch up on some work now.

sunday ramblings


Heather just came out with a fun new kit for the 4th of July called Great American Holiday! I whipped up a layout this afternoon with some pictures from our little outing to Tangle Town last week. :)

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July. My mom and I had another yard sale and did very well on Friday and just OK on Saturday. We had a ton of people on Friday and sold lotsa stuff, but only a couple dozen visitors on Saturday. But we were happy to get a little money to take with us on our little getaway tomorrow. :) Jake and the kids spent the 4th with his mom. They took the kids to Mooville to see the animals and get some ice cream. I was kind of sad to be sitting home alone watching the fireworks on TV.

What’s going on around here? Let’s see …

Jake’s job
He’s getting going on this new career path and going through sales training this week while I’m away. It’s sort of a slow start and a bit scary since it’s a 100% commission job. The money isn’t coming in yet and so we’re in that situation again where we have a pile of bills to pay, but no $ in the bank. I’m trying to have faith because I know once he gets going with this, we will be OK. It’s just scary and we would appreciate your prayers right now. Specifically that God would bring along just the right people who are looking to offer their employees supplemental insurance through Aflac.

my getaway
I’m so excited to go away with mom, my Aunt pat and my cousin Tonya. We’ve been doing this little girls getaway for years now and I always look forward to it every year. :) Tomorrow, we head north to Petoskey then on Tuesday we’re off to Mackinaw City and possibly a boat ride to the island, too. It will be lots of fun! :)

healthy living
The pounds are coming off a little more each week. I’m 15 lbs. down now. It’s only a small amount compared to what I actually need to lose, but I’m pretty happy so far. The big challenge will be eating while away this week. I’m going to try my hardest to eat healthy when we eat out by getting salads or fish or grilled chicken or something else good for me. Gotta keep it up.

I’m really itching to take some road trips lately. I am religiously following the Janssen’s blog and loving the idea of a simple life on the road. It’s not realistic for us and Jake has no desire to do anything like this, but I am dreaming of seeing more of this country. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I LOVE to drive. I am all about taking road trips and I’m always the one driving because Jake hates to drive. I hope that the kids get a bit of my adventurous spirit. I don’t know where I got it, but I have always loved to travel. I’ve been to a lot of states, but sometimes it’s been simply driving through them and seeing them from the highway. That’s no fun. I want to visit cities and small towns and see what’s out there! I did tell Jake that one day when the kids are grown, we are buying an RV and we’re going to travel around the country. I’ve already started a notebook so I can jot down places I think of that I’d like to visit. Ah, to dream.

OK, I need to go finish packing my stuff for tomorrow. I’ll be back sometime Wednesday, so until then ….

c is for carrot fries

While sorting through some stuff in my office, I found a few old Martha Stewart Kids magazines, which I don’t think they even make any more. It was a great little magazine, though, with tons of cute ideas for kids parties, crafts and food. I came across this fun recipe for carrot fries:

from the magazine:
Kids will eat their veggies when you make delicious carrot fries. Cut 2 pounds of carrots into sticks; toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Spread on parchment-lined baking sheet; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.

I made these today and they are very tasty. I used tin foil on a baking sheet because I didn’t have any parchment and it worked fine. The only thing I would have changed was the amount of time I baked them for. At about 17 minutes, several of the thinner sliced carrots started getting a little burned. In my oven at least, they probably would have been done at about 13-15 minutes. Zach loved these. He likes carrots anyway so I thought this would be a fun way to add some variety. Chloe wouldn’t touch them. She isn’t a huge fan of us making her “hot food” as she calls it, though she will eat a cheeseburger from McDonald’s anytime. ;) Go figure.

wedding pictures

Added a bunch of pictures from Janna and Dan’s wedding over on the photo blog. This wedding’s just so bright and fun, I had to post about it again. CLICK HERE to see the post.

off to bed now …. at 3 a.m. :P

AJAXed with AWP