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Archive for the ‘Living’ Category

We’re cruising in a new ride (we bought it in February, hence the snowy pictures). It’s a little 2010 Honda Insight hybrid! It has an economy mode that forces you to drive “grandma-style,” meaning slow acceleration after a stop sign or red light and it really dogs going up some of the big hills. No complaints though. I like Grandma Gear. If the economy mode is off, it doesn’t behave like that, but when you watch the miles per gallon gauge on the dash, you can quickly see how the swift acceleration eats up the fuel! Now that gas just spiked to $4.17/gallon, and is expected to continue to rise this summer, I think we made a good choice.

We’ve had incredible mileage on some longer trips to Chicago, Detroit and Grand Rapids- somewhere in the 40mpg range. We expect that it will get even better mileage on the longer trips this summer when we aren’t running the heater and defrost. We should be in the 45-50 mpg range!

Below are all of the pictures of the car when we brought it home from the lot. I’ve never had a brand new car before (I think it only had 7 miles on it when we took it home), so I figured I should snap a few pictures while it was in pristine condition.

The driver’s side interior:

The passenger’s side interior:

Trunk (the battery is back here):

Exterior rear:

Exterior front:

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About a month ago on a sunny early spring day, we ventured to the tip of Old Mission Peninsula. It’s a beautiful strip of land that separates Grand Traverse Bay in two: West Bay and East Bay. At the base of the peninsula it’s about a mile wide and extends northward about 20 miles to the very tip. I’ve written about adventures on the scenic peninsula here, here and here. Our travels led us to the Old Mission Point Lighthouse .

The lighthouse is located on the 45th parallel which is half-way between the North Pole and the Equator. There is even a nifty sign that depicts what other cities around the world share the 45th parallel alignment.

The water levels in Grand Traverse Bay and the Great Lakes are very low (as evidenced by the pictures below) and have been for several years. I’ve read that they are expected to be even lower this year, but hope with the above average snow/rain this spring will increase the lake level.

Even with snow on the ground, the spring sun was warm and welcome after an entire winter of grey skies. We walked the shoreline and rested for a bit atop the rocks and absorbed the suns rays.

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Thanks to Craigslist, we enjoyed the warm summer of 2010 on the water. David found an old Sailfish sailboat listing while perusing the online classified ad site, and the next day, it was in our driveway. Sure, it had seen better days, but it was reminiscent of the old Sunfish that he learned to sail on. Nostalgia aside, it was serendipitous to have made the purchase given that temperatures soon soared and the Bay was warm well into September.

Because the Bay is across the street, we wheeled the Sailfish down the driveway, along the sidewalk and across the State Highway to the waterfront. Jumping the curbs with the craft on the divided highway was the most difficult part about reaching the water.

David fixed the dings and holes with fiberglass and epoxy, sanded it down, repainted the entire craft with marine paint, affixed texture strips for grip, replaced the side rails with new mahogany and installed all new hardware. The waterlogged inner foam made the small boat weigh a ton, so he created a hatch with a cover and hooked up a portable fan to dry out the inside foam.

The refurbished sailboat features a clean white asthetic.
The Sailfish is the precurser to the more popular Sunfish. It is basically a surfboard with a sail. Two people can comfortably ride on the craft, but be prepared to get wet when the boat bobs over waves. Good thing it was a hot summer!

Here’s David taking advantage of the restored Sailfish!

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It’s certainly not every day that a meal turns out absolutely stunning enough to snap a photo and rave about it. But there are a few occasions in the kitchen when a meal looks picture perfect and tastes as good as it looks. These delectable culinary creations will hopefully make your mouth water. The images make my stomach growl, but it doesn’t take much to get a pregnant woman’s taste buds piqued!

The first savory dish is vegetable lasagna. This dish was inspired by having bought too many vegetables at the grocery store. I looked up a recipe to use them up and this was it!
 

The lasagna pan was almost overflowing and it was extremely dense! There are endless veggies and 4 kinds of cheese! Yes, 4! Parmesan, ricotta, cottage cheese and mozzarella! We enjoyed this lasagna for a few dinners and packed the rest away for lunches. I would definitely make it again!

Next up is a fruit smoothie that I made a few times prior to going to volleyball practice on Saturday mornings. It’s not your average smoothie either! The ingredients included:

  • Banana
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Frozen organic raspberries
  • A generous spoonful of organic Naturally Nutty Vanilla Peanut Butter
  • Orange juice (enough to give it a smoothie-like consistency)
  • Dash of cinnamon

And the smoothie result is below. Mmmmm…. this smoothie recipe makes for some truly satisfying fruit intake! The peanut butter and cinnamon give it a little extra pizzaz!

On one of the days this spring when we’ve been spared of rain and snow, we grilled out. The menu was simple: grilled potatoes, grilled asparagus and BBQ chicken. It tasted just like a hot summer day. Ahhhh.

The only pregnancy craving I’ve had so far has been for homemade popcorn. …and a few weekends ago, I indulged myself. I wasn’t planning on making two monster-sized bowls of popcorn, but it just kept a-poppin’! David was able to partake in my craving as well. (It’s always nice to share anyway.) Once the popcorn was popped and transferred into HUGE popcorn bowls, I heated up some butter in the hot pan to spread on top. It was finger-licking good!

Last but not least, I made my first chicken pot pie. It was a recipe that I got from a friend after she served this wonderful down-home-style dish at a dinner party. My attempt at the recipe yielded the same delicious results as my memory served from that long-ago dinner party. This sumptuous meal will be on the fall/winter menu for years to come in our household!

I hope you aren’t too hungry now! I sure am.

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Some early spring M-22 touring led us to Glen Haven, a charming historic settlement that is now preserved and maintained by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Below, I am pictured in front of the Glen Haven Canning Company building where fruit was processed and shipped to market via Lake Michigan. Now the Cannery building is home to the Great Lakes Boat Museum.


Our M-22 tour continued as we drove up the Lake Michigan Coast to the village of Leland, home of Fishtown. Since, it was a Friday night, we decided to dine at the Bluebird Restaurant for their 1/2 off pizza special.

The bacon and pineapple pizza was a taste sensation!

We concluded our trip with a drive through Suttons Bay and along the West Grand Traverse Bay coastline back into Traverse City. Not a bad way to spend an evening…touring the scenic M-22 highway, stopping in historic villages and enjoying great food with great company. That’s what life is all about here Up North.

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A winter post! (Sorry about that folks. This has been sitting in my drafts for a while now.) David and I got out of the house for a few Sundays in late winter to enjoy the special Sunday rates at Traverse City’s Mt. Holiday. For just $10 a lift ticket on Sunday mornings, it was too good of a deal to pass up. We met up with another couple and the guys did all of the slope action, while the ladies stayed warm in the lodge catching up on life, reading magazines and tending to her 2-year-old.


Mt. Holiday itself is a charming little ski hill located east of downtown Traverse City. The amenities include a lodge, restaurant/bar, fireplace and changing facilities. The family friendly non-profit ski hill facility is operated by a board of directors. The community-run ski hill is a bit of a rarity. The longtime owner of the ski facility tragically died tending to the hill he loved in 1999. Then the community rallied over the next few years to purchase the hill and continue to run it as a ski resort. It was incredible foresight on behalf of the greater Traverse community because Mt. Holiday is a gem! It very well could have been sold to developers for a housing development.


After hitting the slopes, the boys would join us in the restaurant for some beverages and lunch. Our friend’s son enjoyed every minute of it. He spread out his car collection and made friends with many of the skiers who were refueling in the lodge. Mt. Holiday is truly a family friendly establishment where people of all ages are enjoying the joys of winter. Doesn’t that warm your heart?


Not that I’m dreaming of winter when the warm weather has just arrived… it just gives me the warm fuzzies just thinking about taking our son to learn how to ski there someday. Thanks for being there Mt. Holiday!

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When we debuted our kitchen remodel just shy of a year ago, you may have noticed a void above the refrigerator in this post. The intent for that void has always been to give a flat screen TV a home in our kitchen. We didn’t know what size TV we would end up with during the design process and but we did know that the TV cavity would need to be altered for a snug custom fit. Of course, we had the space pre-wired with cable and electricity because it was part of our master plan, after all.


Once we purchased our telly, David got to work adding drywall on the sides for the TV to slide right in. The good news is that it was a relatively small area to drywall which kept the dust down (kind of). The TV was secured in its space with good ol’ heavy duty velcro. (Yep, velcro! It was David’s brilliant idea.)


And there you have it. The TV is shown here in its little nook in the kitchen. Now, we won’t miss a play during the big game, we can cook along with our favorite Food Network chefs or catch the evening news! It turned out great!


The first meal we cooked up in our TV-clad kitchen were chicken fajitas- a staple dinner menu item around our household. Yum!

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