Sunday, September 20, 2020

Our visit to Lake Michigan - Grand Haven, Ludington, Manistee

After a couple week delay (because of a broken computer) I am finally back to post about our vacation all around the state of Michigan.  If you missed the first post, click the link to see Our visit to Holland

Grand Haven

Our first stop in Grand Haven, which is just north of Holland, was the state park. There you could see the harbor and lighthouse.   On top of big hill over looking the harbor there is a large anchor in honor of the Coast Guard.  Grand Haven is called Coast Guard City USA 

One thing interesting about the lighthouse in Grand Haven, you get two for one.  The Inner and Outer Pierhead.  The inner tower was built in 1905.  The outer building was built in 1875 and originally in a different location. In 1922 the pier was rebuild with a concrete pierhead, and the outer building moved to that location. At the time it contained a state of the art foghorn.

A closer view of the inner light, and the bridge connecting the two buildings.

Near downtown Grand Haven we stopped to see the Pere Marquette 1223.  It is one of only two surviving 1223 2-8-4 Berkshires.  I don't know a lot about trains, but my travel companion did. It was constructed in 1941 and used to move heavy war equipment. 

Another great place to visit in Grand Haven that we did not get to see this year, because it was shut down for Covid, is the Grand Haven Musical Fountain.  We used to bring my kids there when they were young and watch synchronized music and light shows. (maybe next year!)


If you like lighthouses, you need to stop in Ludington.  There we saw two of my favorites of the entire trip, and we saw A LOT of them.  The first stop was the Breakwater.  To get to the lighthouse, you have to walk out on a concrete pier over the water.  This sign is at the start of the walkway. 

You can see the lighthouse, the walkway and lighthouse through the fog in this picture.  I was definitely nervous walking out on the pier.  It was a windy day, and water goes over of the walkway.  On extremely windy days there is a risk that you can be washed off the pier if the waves are big enough. I saw several families with kids walking out there too, so I put on a brave face and did it. 


When we were almost there, the waves got a bit bigger.  I moved very fast at that point. The water was about ankle deep and very cold. 

Up close the lighthouse was cool to see. It reminded me of a big ship. The current version was built in 1924.  A car ferry called the S.S. Badger that takes cars from Ludington to Manitowac, Wi, passes by the lighthouse a few times a day. 

Once we were done looking at the lighthouse, I remembered we had to walk back. It seemed a little less scary, but the waves had died down a bit. 

We made a few friends on our way back to the beach.  Even though the walk to and from the lighthouse was nerve wracking, I am so glad that I did it. 

After leaving the Breakwater on the way to the Ludington State Park, we stopped on the side of the road at a lookout spot.  There we saw some interesting small piers with places to tie your boat. Every single one had a seagull on the end. I am not really sure what they are for, but I am guess you can come in and tie you boat in case of bad weather. 

Going to see Big Sable Pointe Lighthouse was also an adventure.  At the start of the walk you see this sign. To get to there you have to hike 1.5 miles along a path that is sometimes paved and sometimes sandy. It does not sound like it would be that far, until you are actually walking it.   A lot of people rode their bikes on the path. 

The long walk was well worth it. It was beautiful. The building and tower were built in 1867.  The constriction materials were delivered to the site by ship, because there was not a road until 1933.  It was the last Great Lake lighthouse to get electricity and plumbing which was not until the late 1940s! 

The tower is 112 feet tall. It was not open to the public this year, but the platform that you normally can walk up to see is 106 feet.  

We spent some time on the beach at Big Sable Point, because we had to rest before our long walk back to our car.  We definitely got our exercise that afternoon. 

After leaving Ludington, we headed just a little bit more north to Manistee. The weather was starting to look a bit dark, because there was a storm heading our way.  

I just learned some interesting facts about the Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse. It was originally built in 1869. In October 1871, on the same day as the great Chicago fire, storms caused fires in many other cities.  Most of Manistee also burned down including the lighthouse.  A new one was built in 1872. The wooden walkway added in 1879, was a safer way for the lighthouse keepers to access the light so they could maintain it. 

As we were driving out of town, I noticed an unusual sight.  Two ships were docked right next to a condominium complex that was being built. We did take a closer look and were surprised to see there were only about 20 feet between them.  

We made it out of the path of the storm in time,  and arrived safely to Traverse City for the night.  There we saw probably the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen.  It was so vivid and colorful. It changed from purple, pink, red and orange. I hope I am lucky enough to see one like that again.  

There are several more locations I will be posting about so stayed tuned!..  

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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Dare to Share #435

It is Friday night, and you know what that means.. 
It is time to Dare to Share 

My computer is finally fixed! I just got it back tonight. I am so happy to be able to use it again. This week we finished our second week of school.  I am back to being a regular teacher and not a Spanish teacher.  Our new Spanish teacher speaks fluent Spanish and started this week.    We are starting to get used to being back to school and all the new rules. One positive thing to wearing masks all day is the kids are so much quieter than they used to be.  I don't know if it will stay that way as the year goes on, but we are enjoying it for now.  

Now that I have my computer back, I hope to get a few posts up this week.  

But since it is already after midnight, I better get the party started.. 

Link up and HAVE FUN!! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Dare to Share #434


It's Friday night, and you know what that means.. 
It is time to Dare to Share!

Sorry I am a little late to post the party tonight.  I am having some computer problems this week. I had two posts planned that I had hoped to post but my computer has been stuck in a boot loop since Tuesday.  I am borrowing a computer to post the party tonight. Hopefully everything will be up and running soon on my computer so I can start posting again! 

In personal news, I had my first week back to school this week. It went pretty well. It was so nice seeing the kids again. We had half days to help with the adjustment back to school which was great for both the students and the teachers.  I did teach Spanish, and that also went pretty well. I taught them some basic words, numbers and colors. I was surprised that it came back a bit after so many years after learning it. The district did find someone who speaks fluent Spanish this week, and I met her today. She is supposed to start next week. She seems really nice, and I think the kids will like her. Since she is new to our school and district, I will assist her for the first day or two since she has quite a bit of information she needs to learn all at once.  

If you have been following me on Instagram, you saw I visited a few more places in Michigan this past week.  We went to the Tawas/Bay City area last weekend, and a sunflower/wild flower farm on Labor Day. Both places I can recommend if you are in the area.  

Well let's get this party started.  Link up and HAVE FUN!!  

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
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Saturday, September 5, 2020

Dare to Share #433

It is Friday night, and you know what that means.. 
It is time to Dare to Share! 

Happy Labor Day Weekend! 

How is it September already?! I know I say that a lot, but this summer really did seem to fly by.  My school is starting in a few days, and as usual there is a new development.  It is not set in stone yet, but it looks like I might be filling in for a class that does not have a teacher yet.  The teacher who normally teaches this subject retired late in the game, and they have not found a replacement. I do know a little bit about this subject but took it years ago (Spanish), so there will definitely be a learning curve until they do find a permanent teacher for the job. Good thing I am up for a challenge and like to learn, because I will be relearning with the kids. 

Have you ever accepted a challenge that is way bigger than what you are ready for, but it turned out to be a really good thing in the end? 

Did you see my post about Our visit to Holland? It was the first stop on our amazing vacation all around Michigan. We hope to see a few more lighthouses this weekend.  Do you have anything fun for your holiday weekend? 

Well it looks like it is time to get this party started.  Link up and HAVE FUN! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
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Thursday, September 3, 2020

Our Visit to Holland Michigan

    As you may know, I recently got back from a vacation where we drove around the state of Michigan.  Our starting point for this wonderful trip was Holland, Michigan.  I was lucky enough to live in Holland 20 years ago.  Two of my kids were born there and we lived there for a few years. I have always had a soft spot for that area, and love to go back to visit when I can.  

We arrived in late afternoon, and our first stop was the Veldeer Tulip Farm.  The best time to see the farm is in the spring when they have millions of tulips in bloom. It was a favorite place to take pictures with my kids when they were young.  Even when it is not tulip time, it is still a fun place to visit.  They have a garden center where you can buy many kinds of bulbs, and other fun things for your garden.

Right next to the garden center is the De Klomp Wooden Shoe and Delft Factory.  There you can see wooden shoes being made and the beautiful Dutch pottery (Delftware)  being painted. It is the only production location for Delftware in North America  (hours have been adjusted for Covid, so they were not making anything at the time of this visit) 

After the farm we decided to walk around downtown before meeting friends for dinner.  We stopped in a quaint little clock shop that was full of cuckoo clocks. 

The clocks were all kinds of shapes and sizes, and from many parts of Germany. 

I wish I took more pictures of downtown.  It is such a pretty downtown, with many stores and restaurants to visit. In many ways it has changed since I lived there, but it also still felt familiar.

We ate dinner at Hops on 84 East. It was recommended by a good friend, and was not there when I used to live there.  She told me about their dill pickle pizza and it did not disappoint. It was really delicious! 

Because we did not plan on where we were going to stay for the night ahead of time, we did have some trouble finding a hotel room. (it was a Saturday night, during the busy season)  Its okay though, we traveled just a few miles down the road and found an nice, less expensive hotel in Grandville.   Grandville also had  very nice Dollar Tree where I found some of the items I will be sharing in another post. 

The next morning we went back to visit Holland State Park. It has a beautiful beach right on Lake Michigan.  I have many fond memories spending time here with my kids playing in the sand and the water. It was a red flag day (very windy), but that was okay because we did not plan on swimming.  We wanted to see the lighthouse and boats. 

Holland Harbor Lighthouse, AKA as Big Red is one of the most well known lighthouses in all of Michigan. It is also one of the most photographed.  One of my favorite things to do with my kids in the summer when we lived there was to pick up some food, and have a picnic at the lake watching the boats in the canal.  It was a beautiful warm day on this day so we sat for awhile and enjoyed the parade of boats. 

Our last stop on this trip was a visit to Captain Sundae. It has been my favorite ice cream place since we lived there.  I always get a buried treasure sundae. The treasure is finding all the cherries, buried in chocolate.  

They have a pirate ship at both locations were you can sit and eat your ice cream. 

Bye captain, we will be back to see you soon!  We have a lot more of Michigan to see.  Next stop Grand Haven! 
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Saturday, August 29, 2020

Dare to Share #432

It is Friday night, and you know what that means.. 
It is time to Dare to Share! 

This week we were supposed to be starting school. Our district had a lot of things to figure out that were not going o be ready in time so the start date was postponed a few weeks.  So instead of teaching this week, I was the nanny for the two kids of the school secretary who is essential at getting things ready for the school year, but all needed a sitter. It's been a long time since I watched younger ones.  It was fun, but I am also very tired.  After not going to work for the last few months, it is have a LONG time since I got up before 7.  I need to start getting used to it though, school is right around the corner.... maybe (if you watch the news at all, you know things change quite quickly)  

This week I finally posted my review of the custom paint by numbers set that from Winnie's Picks.  You can see what I thought about it, in my post here.

I have several fall and Halloween posts in the works.  I have been hauling and photographing a lot of really cool finds from the Dollar Tree.  I am also starting some fun, inexpensive DIYs that I will be sharing soon.  I will also been sharing more about my recent vacation about all the cool places we visited all around Michigan in the next couple of weeks.  

Since it is getting late, I better get this party started.  

Link up and HAVE FUN!!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Winnie's Picks Paint by Number Review

While it took longer than I had planned with everything I had going on this summer, I finally finished my custom paint by number set by Winnie's Picks.  I do have to disclose that I was sent this set by Winnie's Picks to try out and review, but all of my opinions are 100% mine, and mine alone.  

I was asked by Winnie's Picks if I would like to try a paint by numbers set while we were still in lock down in my state.  There are many paintings in different categories to choose from, but at the time all of the pictures I really wanted to paint were not in stock. (this is not the case anymore!)  I decided to try their custom paint by numbers set with a picture of our cat Milo who we lost to cancer a couple of years ago. 

This was the photo I decided to try.  The process for a custom set is pretty easy.  You find a picture that fits the criteria, and upload it to the site. It does take a few weeks longer to arrive than a pre-made set because it needs to be printed and the colors customized.  When it arrives, you get receive long sturdy tube (pictured above) in the mail.  

In the kit I received 35 different colors and a small package of paint brushes.  

The picture was printed on a nice quality canvas.  I also received a pattern on paper that at times was very helpful, and at times it was not. (more about that later) 

I wasn't really sure to start, so I followed the advice on the instructions sent to me, and started to the left of the pattern. Since I am right handed, there was less chance I would accidentally smear what I had already painted.  

The hardest part of the painting was definitely was painting the cat. There were so many colors to paint, and some of the parts of the pattern were very small and at times hard to see with my "older" eyes. 

As I continued to paint, it was so cool to see Milo start to come to life.  

Once the majority of the cat was painted, the background and bow tie went pretty quickly. I did have on small problem while painting, and by small, you can kind of see them on this picture.  See all those white spots, they are white because the number on the pattern was too small to see or there was no number at all.   While the majority of the pattern I could see just fine, the super small print on some parts of the pattern, and printed canvas was just too small to see.  I tried zooming in with my phone, I tried an inexpensive magnifying glass, and even asked my daughter who has "young" eyes.  Between those three things we were able to figure out most of the white spots. There were still a few I just had to guess the number.   If you are a beginner painter or someone who needs large print, there are sets offered on the site that are designed for less experienced painters in mind.  Since I am an experienced crafter/painter I was good with this level of painting. 

Here is my final painting.  I have to say I really LOVE IT.  
It looks just like Milo.  While the coloring around his mouth is a little bit different than the photo with the creams and beiges they sent instead of whiter shades, it captured all the different shades of his fur.  I highly recommend Winnie's Picks if you like to paint.  I know I will be painting more of their canvases in the future. 
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